Consultant’s Corner: Kosher 101

Q: What is kosher food?

A: Kosher is a set of biblical dietary guidelines followed by people of the Jewish faith, today it is followed by vegetarians, Muslims, and members of other religious groups such as Seventh Day Adventists. It is interesting to note that statistics show the majority of kosher consumers are NOT JEWISH! As a matter of fact, it is not even a religious demographic! The majority of kosher consumers are regular, ordinary people that perceive kosher to be “cleaner”, “better” and “healthier”!

Kosher does NOT mean that a rabbi blessed the food, or that the food is health food, organic or any other popular misconception!

The Hebrew word “kosher” means “acceptable” or “fit to eat,” referring to foods that are permissible to be consumed by Jewish people or anyone who keeps the scriptural kosher laws.

Kosher food can be divided into three broad categories: kosher meat products, kosher dairy products, and kosher neutral (pareve) products, which contain no derivatives of either meat or dairy products.

In order to produce a kosher product, every ingredient used in the production, as well as the manufacturing equipment, must be kosher. If meat and dairy products or their derivatives are combined, the resulting mixture is non-kosher.

 

Q: How does kosher certification enhance my product?

A: The kosher symbol on a label represents more than a product that conforms to religious standards. It is viewed as a mark of quality and an added safeguard. In fact, according to an Integrated Marketing Communications survey, consumers who believe kosher is better comprise 25% of the market.

The Wall Street Journal quoted consultant Stephen Hall who said that “health conscious folks see benefits in the quality control and lack of additives in kosher foods.”

Gone are the days when food was purchased indiscriminately, merely on the basis of taste or eye appeal. Consumers examine the ingredient panel of products, as well as the nutritional information prominently displayed on the label. They are extremely concerned about the food they eat, questioning manufacturing procedures, as well as the choice of ingredients used. The kosher symbol, with the monitoring and care it represents, ensures the highest quality standards to the largest and most diverse consumer audience.

 

Q: So how do I become kosher certified?

A: Kosher certification can be acquired in just 5 steps:

  1. Submit Application

Complete and send your New Company application back to OK Kosher on the web at www.ok.org/mapplication.asp or by fax to (718) 756-7503. The application asks for logistical information about your company and plant, as well as product information. Please note: The OK Kosher Certification will maintain all information concerning your company in the strictest confidence.

  1. Review

An Account Specialist and an Executive Rabbi will be assigned to handle your application. They will be available to answer your questions, address your needs and guide you through the certification process.

  1. Initial Visit

An Executive Rabbi will visit your facility to determine the feasibility of certifying your products.  The rabbi will inspect your plant and file a written report to OK headquarters and advise you on any necessary steps to proceed with certification.

  1. Administrative Review

Your application and inspection report will be reviewed by our Rabbinic Administrator whose final approval is needed in order to grant certification. You will be required to submit additional forms detailing your ingredients and products information. The OK has designed the most sophisticated computer system in the kosher certification industry to facilitate your kosher certification. DigitalKosher makes the kosher certification process paperless, efficient and secure.

  1. Contract

The Account Specialist will draft a contract which includes all requirements. The contract is signed and returned to the OK office and a letter of certification is sent to you.

Congratulations! You are now kosher certified by the OK Kosher Certification, the most respected kosher supervision agency in the world. Your company’s name is now listed in the Internet based OK Kosher Food Guide and you can look forward to the announcement of your new certification in the international magazine of the OK.

Your decision to initiate an application for OK certification could very well be the best business marketing decision you will make, so go ahead and contact OK Kosher. When you are ready to move forward, we will be waiting to offer you your free quote.  Please call 718-907-9558 or email apply@ok.org. You can also go to www.ok.org for more information.