Here we are once again, at the beginning of a new year, an opportune time to look back at the past year from a kosher standpoint. The year that a little kosher chocolate chip put kosher on the front page and showed the world how important the details of kosher are to the consumer.
I must admit, at first I thought that the myriad people calling and complaining about a little Trader Joe’s chocolate chip that went from pareve to dairy were overreacting a bit… Surely there are much more important issues that need to be addressed. But, as the calls and emails kept coming in, from New York to Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, from homemakers to rabbis and community leaders, I was reminded of something that I have always known deep down. For the kosher consumer, there are no second choices. It’s either the high road or nothing at all.
Today we are blessed that we live in a free country that allows us to serve Hashem and adhere to his commandments – the best of both worlds. Today’s kosher consumer is not the same as the kosher consumer of yesterday. Today’s kosher products must be of the best quality with no compromise on kosher standards. Thus it came as no surprise when I read that more than a quarter of all new foods released each year since 2007 have claimed to be produced in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. That’s ten times the proportion of new kosher products released back in 2002, according to Mintel’s research. Moreover, all the commotion caused by the switch from pareve to dairy on a tiny chocolate chip just reaffirmed the importance of kosher in the marketplace! It just goes to show that every day the world is becoming a more kosher place and here at the OK we are humbled and proud that we are doing our part in making this happen.
Wishing you a happy, prosperous and kosher new year,
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman