Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, administrator of kosher certification agency KSA Kosher, has witnessed a growing interest in the kosher industry during the last decade. According to Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, the quality of kosher food is prompting more consumers to explore information about these products.
Q: How has the kosher industry grown in recent years?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Studies produced by Integrated Marketing Communications have shown that kosher products outsell other brands by at least 20 percent.
Q: How is the marketplace adjusting to this growth?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher is now the most common claim on new products, even surpassing the labels “organic,” “natural” and “fair trade.” Food manufacturers and grocery store owners see the label as a marketing tool to increase product sales.
Q: What foods are considered kosher?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Many detailed laws are defined by the rules of Kashrut. For example, only animals from a kosher classification are allowed and must be ritually slaughtered in accordance with the Kashrut laws.
Q: Do the animals need to be prepared a certain way?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Yes. Dairy and meat should remain separate, both in consumption and production.
Q: What kind of foods are prohibited?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Certain types of fish and meat are considered non-kosher, and consumers should seek out kosher certification labels for clarification.
Q: How many kosher consumers are there in the United States?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: There are about 9 million regular kosher consumers in the U.S.
Q: What food manufacturers sell kosher products?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kraft, Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and General Mills all produce a large number of kosher certified foods.
Q: Is kosher considered an assurance of quality?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Most definitely. In a study performed by Mintel Organization International, 62 percent of those surveyed said they purchase kosher products because of their perceived quality.
Q: What other reasons do consumers purchase kosher products?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: General healthfulness is a common reason, and of course, the observance of religious rules.
Q: How does a company begin producing kosher foods?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon:A company must first apply for kosher certification with an agency like KSA.
Q: What is the application process?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Applications can be filled out online by completing a brief questionnaire that clearly states the company name, contact information and specific food products.
Q: What happens next?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: After the application is received, a rabbinic coordinator contacts the company and guides its leaders through the certification process.
Q: How does the rabbinic coordinator handle this supervision?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: The rabbinic coordinator inspects the facility, evaluates the kosher certification fees, and defines necessary procedures for the company.
Q: What are the costs involved?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Costs are based on frequency of coordinator visits and a fee for the use of the registered trademark symbol of kosher.
Q: What happens after an inspection?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: After inspection, the rabbinic coordinator completes a detailed report and outlines issues that must be resolved. The head office then convenes to see if the company meets the guidelines to be certified kosher. The company obtains its kosher certificate when the contract is approved.
Q: Are these companies monitored afterwards?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Field representatives with ample experience in food production visit each company on a regular basis.