The number of food items that are certified kosher for Passover this year has reached a record 52,000, according to a survey by Lubicom Marketing Consulting. The agency, which maintains an extensive data base on the kosher market and conducts many research projects throughout the year, said that the number of kosher for Passover items in 2011 was 23,000, nearly half of what it is today. The largest kosher certification agency, the Orthodox Union (OU), certified 32,077 food items this year as opposed to 17,134 in 2011, a 100 percent increase. Other certifications, like the OK, cRc, Kof-K and Star-K, also saw their number of certified items soar this year.
Lubicom also reported that an estimated 300,000 Jews will be spending either a part or the entire Yom Tov in hotel programs throughout the world, a phenomenon that some experts say has been “growing by leaps and bounds.” Some 200,000 Israelis go to hotels, mostly in Israel, with as many as 20,000 believed to travel abroad. Estimates are that 80,000 American Jews participate in one of 70-80 programs in the U.S. An additional 20,000 are believed to come from Europe, South America and Australia.
Writing in Kosher Today, the on-line trade publication for the kosher-food industry, Mr. Lubinsky called the growth in the number of products certified kosher for Pesach “a dramatic development for kosher.” He said that more than 70 percent of American Jewry participated in Pesach (at least one Seder), which contributes to the estimated $1.3 billion Pesach business. He praised kosher manufacturers for their “innovation and creativity” in developing new products for Pesach.
“Not all the products ever see the light of day, some because of the quality of the product and others because of lack of proper marketing.” He also paid tribute to the kashrus agencies for “strengthening kashrus standards despite this extraordinary growth.”
Perhaps most intriguing is the scope of Pesach hotel programs, which now includes luxury hotels in Mexico, Morocco, Africa, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, the French Riviera and Croatia. In additions to programs in luxury hotels, many smaller programs take place in other countries, including the U.S. and Canada. In Orlando, vacationers rented more than 1,000 villas and homes, with many retailers shipping food to the popular destination.
Travel agents and other experts told Kosher Today that for most people, “going away for Passover is more than avoiding the strenuous efforts to prepare a home for Passover. It is a combined holiday/vacation opportunity that many families take advantage of.”