Israeli food producers will be looking to take a bite out of the growing US kosher foods market as the largest international kosher food exhibition "KosherFest" kicked off in New York Tuesday. "The US kosher market has grown in the last six year from annual sales of $45 million to $165m. and has enormous potential for Israeli exporters," said Daphna Sternfeld, manager of food & beverages at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEI). "In addition to the religious market, there are also health conscious consumers who buy kosher products, which are known to have a higher than average quality and higher levels of supervision." Additional growth potential for the kosher foods market is in the Muslim population, which keeps similar stringencies in their dietary laws, Sternfeld said. More than 30 Israeli food companies are displaying products at the two-day KosherFest event, 20 of which are part of a delegation arranged by the IEI. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai is also scheduled to attend the exhibition. The IEI said it expects some $8m. in deals to come out of the show for the Israeli companies boosting the country's food exports to the US, which are forecast to reach $81m. by year end. Running for the 18th straight year, products of over 350 companies from 25 countries are on display at KosherFest 2006 spread across some 500 booths. The exhibition also will feature new products and present awards to the best new products. In addition, the IEI said an Israeli Foods event for American catering purchasers would take place for the first time at the show with the aim of raising awareness among the buyers of the possibilities that lie in Israeli products. Around 50 New York caterers will attend the event, the IEI said.