OU to Honor Osem USA with National Kashrut Leadership Award at 110th Anniversary National Dinner

March 13, 2008

The Orthodox Union will present its National Kashrut Leadership Award to Osem USA at the OU’s 110th Anniversary National Dinner, Sunday, April 6 at the Grand Hyatt New York. Osem USA President, Izzet Ozdogan, will accept on behalf of the company.

“Osem is an iconic name in the Israeli food industry, and Osem USA has brought this success to North America,” declared Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “The Osem-Orthodox Union relationship is long-standing and mutually beneficial. I am delighted that the OU will be presenting its National Kashrut Leadership Award to Osem USA at our 110th Anniversary National Dinner. I look forward to welcoming Izzet Ozdogan, President of Osem USA, to our annual celebration and to assist in the presentation of the Award to him.”

Rabbi Genack said that he is pleased that the recipient of the award this year is an Israeli company while we are celebrating Israel’s 60th Anniversary.
Details on Osem follow:

Osem predates Israel, being established in 1942 during the British Mandate of Palestine as a joint production facility comprising three noodle factories. Over the years, Osem grew from these tiny beginnings to become an icon of Israel. Today, Osem is Israel’s largest grocery, frozen and chilled food products manufacturing facility with over $700 million annual sales and close to 5,000 employees. Osem is the most recognized Israeli consumer brand, alongside its other iconic brands, including Bamba, Bissli, Tivall, Sabra Salads and Beit Hashita.

In the past decade, the average annual rate of growth of Osem’s sales was 2.8 times the average annual sales growth of the food industry in Israel, making Osem one of the most successful food companies in the country. Osem has an Israeli market share of 50 percent and more in many food categories, such as pasta, snacks, meat substitutes, ketchup and crackers, and more than a 40 percent share of culinary food products (casseroles, soups, seasonings, etc.), cakes and chilled salads. All products are manufactured in nine plants in Israel with highest international quality and kosher standards — under the supervision of the Orthodox Union. In fact, the association of Osem and OU goes back many decades.

Osem is a public company in Israel, where Nestle, the largest food company in the world, became a 53.8 percent shareholder in 2005.

In addition to being one of the most successful manufacturers and marketers of food products in Israel, Osem is also an exporter of food products with export sales of over $100 million annually. The main export markets of Osem are the United States and England, where two fully owned Osem subsidiaries operate: Osem USA and Osem UK.

Izzet Ozdogan joined Osem more than 25 years ago in Israel as its export manager when Osem exports were in its infancy. In the mid-1990s Izzet established Osem USA, became its president and moved to New Jersey. Today Osem USA is one of the four national suppliers of kosher foods to the American kosher-keeping community and beyond, and the leader of Israeli foods in the United States. One of Izzet’s passions is helping smaller Israeli food manufacturers export to the U.S., thus creating more jobs in Israel and bringing precious foreign currency to the Israeli economy.

In that respect, Izzet routinely meets small Israeli food manufacturers and advises them how to adapt their products to the American market. In addition, in the United States Osem USA markets some of the smaller Israeli food manufacturers’ products – including Kibutz Einat, Couscous Maison, Matzot Rishon, Adanim, Tivit, Shkedia and others — thus enabling them to bring millions of dollars annually into the Israeli economy.

Izzet Ozdogan, who immigrated to Israel in 1973 from Turkey, has two MBA degrees, majoring in finance and marketing, the latter from Syracuse University.