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Kosher, Halal Foods Meet Demands of Today's Consumers - But Most Don't Know It Yet

 Kosher, Halal Foods Meet Demands of Today's Consumers - But Most Don't Know It Yet

Kosher label

Market Wire

Kosher and halal foods – as defined by the sacred dietary laws of Jews and Muslims, respectively – must be produced and processed according to standards that far exceed those imposed by the U.S. government. In kosher and halal food production, sanitation requirements are more exacting, supervision is more rigorous, inspection is more frequent, prohibitions against certain ingredients and contaminants are stricter, and label information is more forthcoming than required by federal law. And unlike federal law, these ancient standards are not subject to negotiation.

There is every reason, then, to expect the increasingly discerning U.S. food shopper to choose these products over their conventional counterparts. Indeed, according to Packaged Facts’ new report, “MarketTrend: Kosher- and Halal-Certified Foods in the U.S.,” sales of certified kosher foods through grocery stores swelled from nearly $150 billion in 2003 to more than $200 billion in 2008, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate twice that of the overall food market.

“U.S. consumers who are not followers of Judaism or Islam are largely unaware of the specific qualities that distinguish kosher and halal from conventional foods,” says Packaged Facts Publisher Tatjana Meerman. “However, factors related to safety, quality, and ‘truth in labeling’ should prompt these mainstream consumers to seek out kosher/halal more often, although marketers and third-party certifiers must make a greater effort to educate consumers before that can happen. Shoppers already read food labels,” she continues. “So, a kosher/halal certification seal should be one of the things they are looking for.”

The potential customer base is vast, and includes the large segment of the American population anxious about the safety of the food supply as well as the growing number of people on gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, or other special diets who demand clarity in food labeling. In addition, because the sacred teachings of both Judaism and Islam emphasize respect for the land and living things, kosher and halal foods also address the concerns of the ethical consumerism movement. In an unexpected finding, the segment of consumers Packaged Facts has identified as “foodies” is shown to be an exceptionally promising prospect for kosher/halal marketers.