How OU Kosher Certified Companies are Coping Despite COVID-19 

With the challenges of COVID still with us, the cold reality is that many food industry manufacturers have had to strengthen their stamina and creativity to survive. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, OU Kosher has been here for our customers to provide you with our team of experts and business tools to help you make it through these challenging times. As the world’s leading Kosher certifying body, we understand that we have a responsibility to positively impact our customers and the world’s food supply. Lockdown has led people to think differently about food they consume. Taste rather than ingredients have a lot to do with consumer’s consideration of the foods they buy. 

At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, many food companies saw a spike in demand for their products. From coffee, frozen meals, snacks, and condiments to products like macaroni and cheese and home baked goods, people gravitated towards foods that provided comfort and nostalgia.  

Some large food manufacturers could not keep up with the increase in demand, and this provided smaller brands with the opportunity to gain shelf space that was out of reach before the pandemic. According to IRI data, large CPG companies like Mondelez International continues to thrive during COVID-19 with products such as Oreo’s and Wheat Thins. While other small and mid-sized companies such as Goya, best known for canned beans, rice, cooking oil and sauces; and plant-based food manufacturer Impossible Foods have been among the biggest winners during the coronavirus. With meat shortages rampant due to thousands of workers out sick with the virus, plant-based faux-meat benefited by prompting consumers to try these products for the first time. 

Companies are also analyzing consumer behavior during COVID to create flavors and products that appeal to consumers’ moods. At Kerry Foods, Michel Aubanel, Kerry’s Global Flavor Ingredients Development Manager, shares his passion for taste and all things flavors. He describes creating mood and emotion through flavors and explains how COVID-19 has enhanced the consumer desire for new taste experiences. Sonja Nodland, PhD Principal Scientist in Kerry’s Proactive Health team is studying different ways to create new innovative products to boost our immune systems.i 

OU Kosher has been inundated with requests from OU certified companies around the globe for assistance with supply chain disruptions. At OU Kosher, we have adapted to the changing climate by developing technology to help with sourcing products and ingredientsOU Direct allows your business access to hundreds of thousands of suppliers and resources. The key role we play is to ensure a stable food supply continues uninterrupted. 

Considering the surging number of international lockdowns and border restrictions, we’ve played a critical role in developing creative ways to continue our Kosher audits virtually to ensure the unhindered production and supply of food as each country tries to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. Other Kosher agencies have followed our lead as we set a precedent for the safety of our employees and yours. We understand the challenges that COVID has brought to the production of food, and we have created policies and protocols to ensure uninterrupted production of the world’s Kosher food supply. 

Our team is here to help you innovate and shift your business in any way you need, whether it is reformulating your existing products, developing, and adding new products, or simply making sure that your Kosher program is efficient, profitable, and easy to manage, with our specialized services and tools through OU Direct.  

With coronavirus on the rise again, and more lockdowns probable, it is no surprise that people will once again start stockpiling food. The demand for packaged food will surge and health supplements will increase as people turn to the wellness industry to stay healthy. 

The battle for market share will always continue. But if we have learned anything, it is that by responding to the consumer’s purchasing behavior in the e-commerce market, and the demand for innovative products which satisfy the consumer’s new stay at home lifestyle, many companies are re-inventing their portfolios to tap into this new reality. 

At OU Kosher, we care deeply about your business, from finances to operations, to driving traffic. We are with you as partners, helping you make it every step of the way. 



Phyllis Koegel
As the Marketing Director for OU Kosher, the world’s leading Kosher certifying agency, Phyllis is responsible for the marketing and new business development by assisting food producers worldwide obtain OU Kosher certification for their products. Phyllis developed an early passion for consumer behavior and marketing. She joined the Orthodox Union in 2006 after serving as Marketing Manager for Sabra Hummus. At Sabra Hummus, she helped launch the hummus category to the American market. Hummus became a staple in American households and grew to a billion-dollar food category. Sabra Hummus was purchased by Pepsico in 2008 and has grown to over $1 billion in annual sales. Prior to joining Sabra, Phyllis was involved in the development and success of the International Kosherfest Trade show. As Show Director from 1989 – 2002, she worked with thousands of Kosher food manufacturers and oversaw the strategic planning and execution of the show. Phyllis was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She obtained an MBA in Marketing from Pace University in 1988. She now lives in Woodmere, N.Y. and has three children and sixteen grandchildren.