Kosher certification in the food industry

Kashrut (which pronunciation in Yiddish is “Kosher”) means “correct or appropriate to be consumed”. It refers to the Jewish precepts that determine exactly what food can and cannot be eaten; that is, which comply with the precepts of religion and which do not. Those who fulfill the precepts of the Kashrut are named Kosher.

Therefore, the Kashrut concept refers to the set of Jewish dietary laws found in the Torah (which is the text that contains the law and the identity heritage of the Israelite people). These are millennial old laws that determine foods that are pure and therefore are fit for consumption. In addition, these laws also indicate how they should be consumed and adapt to the latest food trends in the market.

Therefore, the Kosher certification that obtained certain products, indicates that these products respect the precepts of the Jewish religion, and they are considered pure and apt to be ingested by the practitioners of that religion. It groups from the composition and the ingredients of the product to the production process, putting a special attention in the preparation, and in the cleaning of the makeup as well.

Food is classified into 3 categories:

  • Dairy products (jalabí),
  • Meat (basarí)
  • Neutrals (parve).

Neutral foods can be consumed with dairy and meat products, but the prohibition on mixing meat and dairy products is excluded.

As an example, some considerations included in this certification are:

  • Meat food allowed are  ruminant animals and split hoof. Allowed birds are those that are not scavengers. In both cases, animals must be slaughtered according to Jewish regulations. The flesh of a pure animal, slaughtered according to regulations, and has passed all control becomes fit for consumption and receives the certificate of Kashrut.
  • As for fish, to be considered Kosher, aquatic animals should have scales and fins. Insects and worms are prohibited, as is sea food.
  • The process of making wine must be carried out in its entirety by the Jews from the moment they step on the grapes to its bottling.
  • Raisin consumption is not allowed, as they are coated with a non-Kosher base animal glycerin.
  • Chips can not be cooked  in the fryer in oil that has not been pasteurised and deodorised in the equipment used for the production of tallow.
  • The equipment used for the production of hot foods that are not Kosher may not be used for the production of Kosher products if the Koshering has not been realized.

The Kosher Market in the Food Industry

The Kosher market is estimated to be around $600 billion per year between products and ingredients.Muslims, vegetarians, vegans, people with allergies, etc. are also consumers of this type of products.

In addition, products with the Kosher certification are perceived as healthy, natural and of better quality.

Among the countries with the highest demand for products are United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland and South Africa.

The market in the United States

In the United States there are over 100,000 Kosher certified products, and about 7,500 new products are certified each year. In general, only 20% of its consumers are Jewish. Consumers of both Kosher and Halal products are less influenced by discounts.

The popularity of these products among non-Jews is due in part to the perception of Kashrut as a good quality label. Users worried about animal suffering are also consumers of Kosher products. In recent years, some Kosher products have been very popular, ahead of “natural”, “no additives or preservatives” and “organic” products.

The average number of Kosher products in supermarkets is 25,000 products. Many consumers say they would buy more often if there were more product diversity.

Important supermarkets such as Pathmark, Wal-Mart, Shoprite and Albertsons have Kosher product departments. Albertsons, for example, provides Kosher sections at its 1750 points of sale in the USA. The growth in consumption of Kosher products is mainly due to basic foods such as cookies, chocolates and snacks.

Kosher certification in Spain

Kosher certification is a tool of differentiation and competitive positioning at an international level, in a market characterised by constant growth. This certification is important to promote exportation. Spain is a large manufacturer and exporter of food products. However, knowledge of export opportunities, especially in the United States, the most important market for Kosher products, is unknown in Spain.

Kosher certification has a good reputation, because it guarantees the quality of the products and is a competitive advantage in the large distribution of food.

The certification process covers all aspects of food production, from the ingredients used to the equipment used for production.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, through qualified personnel, supervises the Kashrut in Spain from the beginning of the production process until the packaging.

About Managing Kosher Certification

The Kosher Orthodox Union is the world’s largest and most recognised kosher certification agency, certifying more than 800,000 products produced in more than 8,500 plants located in 100 countries around the world.

The OU (Orthodox Union) seal is from the USA and is the most recognised. A product with this seal ensures that it has been made with Kosher ingredients and processed in an exclusive Kosher food kit.

How to apply for Kosher certification? In general the procedure entails the following steps:

– Request. Companies must complete an application, including the following information:

  • Company Profile
  • Profile of the production plant
  • List of raw materials
  • Product approval request

– An initial inspection and evaluation is carried out.

– Contract.

  • A- List of approved ingredients and raw materials.
  • B-List of brands and products certified with their designations. (OR for Parve; OU-D for daily; OU-Meat, OU-P for Pesach (Easter)

– New inspection and certification