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Kosher, Kosher, Everywhere

Faygie Holt

They could be mom and pop, big box, mini-chain, online. In big cities, middle-sized communities, and in the middle of nowhere. Today, you can find kosher food in just about any place — and in more and more variety.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When the Acme supermarket in Clifton, New Jersey, closed earlier this year, Jewish residents let out a collective groan. Many members of the area’s community had come to depend on the store for everything from household items to fresh kosher deli meats to bakery goods. But good news came fast: this fall, the supermarket space will be a food store yet again — albeit with a slightly smaller square footage. There will also be another change: the new market, Seasons, will be 100 percent kosher, a branch of a New York–based chain that plans to open three more locations in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Seasons CEO Mayer Gold said the expansion plans reflect the demographic realities of changing Jewish communities. “We’ve found that about half the people living in Passaic and Clifton are going to [nearby] Monsey or Teaneck to shop,” Gold says. “The whole Passaic-Clifton area is a growing neighborhood and underserved. There’s no way in this day and age that people can’t go to the kosher supermarket for all their grocery shopping.” The story is similar in Lakewood, New Jersey, where a mega-chain ShopRite store recently closed only to be replaced by a Gourmet Glatt all-kosher supermarket. Just a few decades ago, a kosher supermarket with thousands of items on its shelves would have been unimaginable to the average kosher consumer. A handful of companies produced the vast majority of food products and the kosher selection was limited. Delicacies such as sushi, mochaccinos, and faux bacon were unheard of among Orthodox shoppers. But nowadays new kosher products are constantly hitting the marketplace, including trendy vegan, gluten-free, and organic fare. That has spurred a new generation of all-kosher markets in areas with large Jewish populations, and forced big-box outlets to cater to Jewish buyers in smaller markets, where Jews aren’t the only kosher consumers.

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