Kosherfest, the annual two-day trade fair for the kosher-certified food industry, has been discontinued. The event, which was held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, was established in 1989 and included an exhibition hall, lectures, cooking demonstrations, a culinary competition between celebrity chefs, and new product awards. It was considered a showcase for food trends and innovations in the kosher-certified food industry.
The event was closed to the public but admitted manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, buyers, caterers, retail stores, and media personnel, including photographers and food bloggers. Kosherfest was co-produced by Lubicom Marketing and Consulting and Diversified Communications.
In an email sent to exhibitors and attendees on Wednesday, the Kosherfest team announced that they had made the difficult decision to discontinue the event. They cited changing supermarket category manager buying responsibilities and the elimination of the kosher buyer in many major supermarket chains as reasons for their decision. Exhibitors felt that Kosherfest had run its course and there was no longer significant ROI to justify exhibiting at the show.
The email explained that within supermarket chains, the kosher food category increasingly falls under the grocery buyer’s responsibility. As this buyer is responsible for sourcing and purchasing a wide array of products, they are more likely to attend food events displaying items not just exclusive to kosher. A certified kosher-only food show such as Kosherfest is too niche for their attendance.
All exhibit space deposits received will be refunded within the next 2-3 weeks
The number of kosher-certified food products grew from 26,000 to approximately 41,000 between 1992 and 1997. This increase brought more diversified fare, indicating that kosher food was no longer just for Passover or Jews. Products on display included kosher-certified venison, gumbo, imitation crab, faux caviar, kielbasa, “bacon” cheeseburgers, chorizo and Cajun beef sausage.
Later trends seen at Kosherfest included gluten-free foods, which represented nearly 20% of the foods on display. Other trends included Greek yogurt, organic food, vegan offerings and dairy-free products. The exhibition attracted a diverse range of food developers and vendors, including some who were not Jewish.
The discontinuation of Kosherfest marks the end of an era for the kosher-certified food industry. The event had been a staple for over 30 years and will be missed by many in the industry.