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Exporters urged to tap global kosher market.

Byline: Amy R. Remo

Filipino food exporters are urged to tap the huge opportunities presented by the multibillion-dollar global kosher market, which is reportedly growing by 15 percent a year.

According to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), exploring the kosher food market will allow local exporters to diversify their markets and boost their revenues.

Kosher refers to food that conform to the regulations of kashrut or Jewish dietary law.

Joel Weinberger, president of international kosher inspector PS Kosher Food Works Inc., was quoted by Philexport as saying that the "Philippines has a lot of room to grow and has a lot of opportunities."

Philippine food products that were said to have great growth potential in the kosher market include coconut-based products, dried fruits, fruit jams and fishery products like tuna and some sardines.

Citing a report by Mintel consumer research, Weinberger said that sales of kosher food in the United States alone, which already comprise a third of the worldwide market, totaled $12.65 billion.

Apart from the United States, which has a large Jewish population, Weinberger said that Europe, particularly France and United Kingdom, Israel and Russia, were significant markets for kosher products.

"[The kosher market] is very conducive for Filipino exporters because very often, (places) where Filipino people live in the US overlap with where the kosher markets are. You get market opportunities, for example, by selling in New York City, which has a lot of Filipinos and is also a large kosher market," he said.

Weinberger also noted that even non-Jewish people consider kosher as a "health and safety validation" thus are also potential consumers of kosher products.

To capture the lucrative market, Weinberger said exporters have to seek kosher certification, which costs an average of $3,000 a year.

"The cost to become kosher is not significant when they are looking at containers of (food) sales," he noted.

"My companies are always adding sophisticated machines, adding another building, adding capacity... why? because they are growing," he added.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 7, 2013
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