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Kosherfest 2012 Brings Record Numbers to Meadowlands Expo Center

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 Jack’s Gourmet serving “Facon” to an eager crowd at Kosherfest 2012.Kosherfest 2012, the Kosher Industry Trade Show, brought over 6,000 kosher food and beverage buyers and industry professionals to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus New Jersey on November 20-21, to discover groundbreaking new products that will be appearing on kosher food tables over the next year.

The array of new kosher food products was mind-boggling. The sold out show defied the effects of Hurricane Sandy with 325 exhibitors on the convention’s center floor and lines of potential customers waiting to see “what is new and exciting” for the kosher palate.

The exhibitors included kosher food manufacturers and distributors from all over the world including the United States, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, China, the Philippines, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany and more. In addition, kosher supervision agencies, governmental agencies, kosher cookbook authors and publishers, and kosher food support and logistics companies were represented at Kosherfest.

What will “Joseph” kosher consumer be consuming over the next year?

Try “Facon,” fake bacon-tasting beef fry from award winner Jack’s Gourmet. Standing in line at Jack’s, one’s taste buds “lit up” with the smell of what Jewish kosher law strictly forbids us to eat. Those who had the opportunity to eat the forbidden food in their “prior” Jewish life – before they became observant – claim that “Facon” tastes almost like the real thing. After three portions, one just knows that the stuff tastes great no matter what, and it’s really hard to walk away from the booth. Jack’s Gourmet also sports super delicious authentic sausages and meats.

While on the topic of meats: The large booth at the hall entrance from Agri Star Distribution Company’s Aaron’s Best label is a perfect example of where kosher meat has gone in the past few years. The simple kosher meats that were purchased years ago have given way to sophisticated top quality cuts, packaged in vacuum and high preservation shrink packaging, and shipped from the main processing plants either fresh or frozen to the markets. Every possible kosher cut of meat is available today, plus processed meats and delicatessen for any palate or need. A freshly frozen turkey sampled from Aaron’s Best arrived at our kitchen pristine clean and ready for roasting, resulting in a delicious “bird” with top quality white meat and luscious dark meat. Similarly, a vacuum packed lean meat cut which was sampled and roasted, was soft and tasty with little fat and tons of flavor. Agri Star markets under the Aaron’s Best and the Shor Habor labels and is available at better kosher markets and supermarkets, as well as at Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Stop and Shop, Pathmark, Kosher Marketplace and Seasons.

Hershey Friedman, CEO of Agristar, says that there are a wide range of new products in the pipeline including new products that will meet or exceed the new nutritional guidelines that will be instituted in the coming months for meals at yeshivas, institutions and camps. A new product that he is very excited about is their dry salami sticks which are high in protein, low in fat, have no byproducts and require no refrigeration. “This is an excellent and nutritional snack for school or the workplace,” Friedman enthused.

Streit’s Corporation is well known for its Matzo products and has been a staple for close to a hundred years. Still in its original plant in the Lower east Side of Manhattan, Streit’s carries a wide range of products for both Passover and year round. Streit’s in conjunction with Foodman’s has introduced a Kosherfest award winning new food entry called Maztolah. Matzolah is a delicious Passover trail mix made with matzo, Vermont maple syrup, California raisins, Almonds, walnuts, Pecans and more. It can be used as a cereal with milk, a standalone snack or sprinkled with yogurt. Inspired by a husband and wife team from Decatur Georgia , Laura and Wayne Gantwerker and family made this recipe “just for family members” for many years. They decided this year to become entrepreneurs and joined up with Streit’s to market their new product.

Dr. Praeger’s healthy line of food products was inspired and owned by a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Peter Praeger. A “fluke” connection with the Unger fish family turned the surgeon into the owner of the Unger Fish company and gave him the idea of producing healthy foods, after which he created Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods over 20 years ago. The line has become very successful and is found nationally in most supermarkets and stores. Peter Praeger passed away on Sept 22, 2012 but his family continues the heritage and is expanding the line. It now features a full line of healthy frozen food including Appetizers and Snacks, Veggie Burgers and Veggie Chicken, Veggie Pancakes and Fish Products. In addition, the company offers a full line of nutritional products for kids, Pizza Bagels, Potato Littles, Spinach and Broccoli Littles, Potato Crusted and Lightly Breaded Fishies. The Dr. Praeger’s Kosherfest exhibit included many of the Dr. Praeger’s products with ample delicious samples.

The Manischewitz Company is well known for its food products and was founded in 1888 by Rabbi Dov Ber Manischewitz. Today, The Manischewitz Company is a specialty food conglomerate, part of the RAB food group that includes famous kosher brands such as, Manischewitz, Season, Guiltless Gourmet, Asian Harvest, Rokeach, Mishpacha, Horowitz Margareten, Jason, Mothers, Carmel, Croyden House, Mrs. Adler’s, Tam Tam, Cohen’s, Ratner’s and Goodman’s. Manischewitz and RAB under the leadership of co- CEO’s Alan Bankier and Paul Bensabat, has made a major impact in the kosher food industry. With its vast array of products such as matzo products ands crackers, noodles sauces and gravies, fish products, soup products, stuffings, pancakes and other side products, all natural and low sodium health products, Cohen’s hor dourves products, oils, condiments and snack products, Manischewitz products can fill a supermarket aisle with all its various varieties.

New for this year’s Kosherfest, Manischewitz introduced a range of new products including: Manischewitz Turkey Broth, Manischewitz Turkey Gravy, Potato Pancake Mixes in Garlic and Rosemary and Veggie Flavors, Passover Red Velvet Macaroons, Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, Gluten Free Matzo Style Squares and Crackers, Manischewitz Almond Butter, Pareve Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Guiltless Gourmet Flaxseed Crunch Bar, Almond Cranberry Flaxseed Bar and Exotic Root Vegetable Chips. In addition, for the specialty markets, they have Manischewitz Mediterranean Gefilte Fish and ready to serve meals in two varieties, Moroccan Roasted Vegetable and Moroccan Roasted Vegetable and Cous Cous.

Manischewitz is sponsoring the Chanukah House Kit Contest in time for the upcoming Chanukah holiday. Purchase a Manischewitz House Decorating kit consisting of a vanilla cookie base for assembling “your artistic” creation with the included assortment of toppings and additions to outfit it. Upload a photo of the Chanukah House to the Manischewitz Facebook website and win up to a $500 prize of Manischewitz products.

The kosher marketplace is much greater than most people can realize. Here are some statistics. The dollar value of Kosher Certified products produced in the USA is $305 billion, there are approximately 10,650 kosher producing plants worldwide, 125,000 kosher certified products and 19,000 products sold in supermarkets in the U.S. It is no wonder that the halls of Kosherferst 2012 were so crowded and will surely continue to grow each year.

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