Have you joined the “foodie revolution”? Everywhere you turn, across all platforms, people are either talking about cooking and eating, or watching other people cooking and eating. From the Food Network, to competitive cooking shows, food blogs and foodie groups, culinary magazines and specialized cookbooks, everywhere you turn, people are talking about food. Even travel magazines and travel sites are all about watching people eat the food of their native lands.
The current popularity of kosher foodie groups on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram continues to grow daily. I recently checked my social media feeds, only to discover that I am a member of at least a dozen foodie groups. Each day my news feed is flooded with hundreds of messages, comments and photos, from foodies sharing experiences. Postings range from critiques and recommendations of restaurant openings and closings, to new fads and cooking techniques, as well as health and nutrition.
To be a foodie is more about the experience, rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger. Urban Dictionary defines a “foodie” as a person who enjoys food for pleasure. The addition of the long “e” sound at the end of the word “food” is used to create a sensation of being part of a group in urban society.
True foodies don’t just go out for the evening and have dinner — they talk about the dinner, post pictures of their dinner, plan their next dinner and live to eat, rather than eat to live. Food is now viewed as a legitimate hobby! It’s a topic of endless discussion, a playground where people try to one-up each other, and is used as a measuring stick of being cool. The foodie revolution has set new product and culinary criteria for even the most basic everyday eating experiences.
We don’t just enjoy our food, we savor it. Eating is defined by freshness, distinctive flavors, provenance and presentation. The quest for the next new “it” restaurant serving trendy and exotic cuisine is on the rise. Kosher is part of this foodie revolution that has mass appeal and somehow just won’t go out of style.
There are countless kosher food bloggers out there in “foodie land,” constantly searching for new and exciting ways to enjoy their food and try new recipes. They are obsessed with searching for new kosher products so they can partake in the newest food trend. They have an extraordinary following of kosher consumers devouring their content.
The OU is committed to bringing the kosher consumer the newest availability of kosher products from all over the world. At OU Kosher, we see many food trends come and go. From natural, vegan and organic, to gluten-free and sustainable, people really care about food and they care about what they put in their bodies.
As a professional in the food industry, I find trade shows are a great place to network, find new products and suppliers, not to mention sampling some of the most delicious OU Kosher certified products. Food trade events provide the perfect mix of food manufacturers who are passionate about food, alongside the hottest new trends in the industry.
At the beginning of each year we plan our yearly trade show strategy based on a variety of criteria. There are a slew of food industry trade shows and the food industry can be something of a mystery if you are not on the “in” of the food manufacturing world.
OU Marketing travels worldwide to visit and exhibit at a number of food trade events. The long hours, the sore feet, the cheesy give-a-ways, are all part of the wonderful world of trade shows. I happen to have a love/hate relationship with trade shows. Ask people about trade shows and you’ll provoke a strong reaction. They either love them or hate them. Me? It’s complicated. I love trade shows, most of the time. The networking and business opportunities within the concentrated amount of time at a trade show are endless. I can get an abundance of business done on the trade show floor. I get to travel and meet new people, and most of all I love the marketing challenge and getting to see the OU’s worldwide network of certified companies. I do hate the weight gain and the amount of work piling up back in my office, but the pros outweigh the cons and I’ll just have to sacrifice for the sake of my job…foodie nirvana here I come!
On average, I attend a dozen international and national food trade shows, to interact with existing OU clients and meet new companies who are interested in the growing kosher market. The food market has expanded beyond the traditional grocery or supermarket. There are dollar stores, club stores, pharmacy chains, and convenience stores. More importantly, you don’t have to visit stores anymore. Amazon, Fresh Direct and countless others are popping up to service home delivery.
Have you been in Staples or Office Depot lately? Have you seen the amount of food that’s available for sale? Today, you can pick up the phone and order paper, pencils plus all the foodstuffs needed for your office.
Another segment traditionally ignored by the food industry is the TV home shopping networks such as HSN and QVC. Not only do consumers not have to visit the store anymore, they don’t even have to get out of their chairs.
As the marketplace continues to evolve, kosher remains a constant important factor in food production. We at OU Kosher see food trends translate into constant growth for kosher certification. Companies want to expand their market share and reach as many consumers as possible. For them, kosher is a business decision that enhances the marketability of their products.
From exotic fusions of global flavors, obscure ingredients and functional healthy food, these trends will most likely continue, so be on the lookout for new and interesting OU Kosher certified products everywhere you shop.
PHYLLIS KOEGEL IS MARKETING DIRECTOR OF OU KOSHER. RESIDING IN WOODMERE, NY, PHYLLIS GRADUATED FROM PACE UNIVERSITY WITH AN MBA IN MARKETING AND HAS TRAVELED THE WORLD FOR OU KOSHER SEEKING OUT NEW AND EXCITING FOOD MANUFACTURERS EAGER TO OBTAIN OU KOSHER CERTIFICATION.