New campaign says: Kosher is cool

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area. | Kosher as a hot brand? The leading marketer of kosher foods, Manischewitz, has launched its first campaign aimed at the general market as well as at consumers who traditionally buy kosher products for religious reasons.

The multimillion-dollar campaign carries the theme “Simply Manischewitz.” It includes online advertising, at and Web sites such; ads in a general-market publication, Cooking Light magazine; ads sent to consumers as email messages; and a recently completed cook-off with prizes provided by a mainstay brand, General Electric.

The campaign’s goal is to encourage consumers to ask grocers and other retailers to stock Manischewitz items not in the smaller kosher sections of stores, but in the more heavily trafficked aisles devoted to broad product categories like soup, crackers, noodles, sauces and candy.

Jeremy J. Fingerman, president and chief executive at the RAB Food Group in Secaucus, N.J., owned by RAB Holdings, told the New York Times last year, “Our aspiration is to be America’s preferred specialty-food company.

“Although kosher foods are clearly our heritage and our anchor,” Fingerman said, “this is about the ‘and,’ not the ‘or.’ We’re reasserting our core kosher credentials and positioning ourselves for broader growth.”

American shoppers spend more than $50 billion a year on kosher foods. Sales have been growing by double-digit percentages each year, compared with little if any growth each year for sales of packaged foods intended for the general market.

It is estimated that only one of five buyers of kosher foods is the traditional Jewish customer. Research has found that many non-Jewish consumers perceive kosher foods, made in accordance with centuries-old dietary laws, to be purer and higher in quality than the non-kosher products.