Israeli foods get top billing on global Food Channel

Israeli brands will be included as part of "world market" for Food Channel's online store thanks to lobbying by US Christian group.

By NADAV SHEMER
June 7, 2011 13:45
2 minute read.
osem ceo 88 298

osem ceo 88 298. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Thanks to a group of evangelical Christians in the United States, Israeli food companies are being given exposure to the world through an online food network that boasts around 11 million visitors per year.

The Food Channel recently selected Israel to be the first country to feature in the new “world market” section of its online store, which promises to find handselected items for purchase that aren’t easily available in the US. And according to one of the partners in Food Channel International – which runs the network’s overseas operations - Israel’s inclusion was no mistake.

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“The food here is terrific, it’s not well known in the States, even with all the distribution efforts that have been made over the last few years, and I felt like Americans, no matter what their faith base is, would thoroughly enjoy this wonderful treasure of food over here that very few know about,” Cary Summers told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday while on what he said was his 65th visit to Israel in 30 years.

“We chose Israel the first, frankly that was part of our deal with the Food Channel – that we would help but that Israel had to be the first one, and they honored that,” he added.

As CEO of Missouribased consulting firm the Nehemiah Group, Summers has many business interests in Israel, including Nazareth Village – a replica of a first century Galilee village built in the northern Israeli city of the same name.

He said the chance to present their wares on the Food Channel presented a big opportunity for Israeli companies because the network appeals mainly to the mid-upper income group, people who “skew much higher as active travellers, they obviously skew much higher for wanting to experiment with food, to learn about food and gourmet cooking.

“They don’t have to be Jewish, they don’t have to be Christian… it’s just people who want to understand foods from different parts of the world.”

Two Israeli companies have already been featured on the channel’s website since its food market section was launched on April 1: Aunt Berta’s – which sells kosher sauce, preserve, honey and nut butter products manufactured at Kibbutz Beth El, and Fruits of Galilee – which produces preserves and marmalades made by descendants of Christian German settlers living on Mt. Carmel.

Now, in conjunction with the Israeli Export Institute’s food and wine division, the network has begun approaching other manufacturers in Israel, and will hold talks in coming months in the hope of attracting local companies in time for the US holiday season later this year.


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