While kosher aisles stereotypically consist of borsht, jarred gefilte fish, and year-old matzah, the kosher aisles and markets in large Jewish neighborhoods are teeming with diverse and unexpected options. Kosherfest, which took over the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ this week, sheds light on the next wave of new products. The annual trade show provides a chance for food and beverage items to debut among industry insiders who will best know how to promote and distribute them. The event hosted thousands of people from all over the world who came to connect, make deals, watch cooking competitions, enjoy product demonstrations and more.
With thousands of new products available this year, Kosherfest presented awards to the products it deemed noteworthy. This year’s honorees included Parvella, a non-dairy Nutella-esque chocolate spread, which won the Best in Show award. (I’m already thinking of all the ways to use a parve Nutella for shabbos dessert!) The standouts this year, though, were the fascinating, odd, innovative and entirely new. These four products were the hits of Kosherfest and will soon debut at stores.
1. Ready-Made Matzo Pizza from Manischewitz
In a world where convenience is king, who wants to have to make matzo pizza yourself, when you can buy it ready-made? Not only that, the pizza sauce often causes the matza to get soggy and for the dish to crumble. Manischewitz has created a solution: by individually packaging eight pieces of triangular matzah with eight separate sauce packets, each piece stays intact as the right amount of sauce doesn’t overburden the fragile crust. After being baked with cheese, “the eight pieces can be served together in a circle, just like regular pizza,” says Lee Groeger of 3E who works with the company.
2. Kimchi and Gochujang by KOKO Food (Korean Kosher)
Asian specialty foods have become kosher certified more and more over the past few years. And it seems that no kosher restaurant is complete these days without sushi on the menu! At this year’s Kosherfest there were 3 Korean tables, a large table of products from Japan including sake, green tea and seaweed, two tables from India featuring ready-made Masala mixes and many more booths with flavors from around the world. The table from Korean Kosher was busy with people lined up to try the award-winning Gochujang, a fermented hot red pepper paste and the Kimchi, naturally pickled mixture of spicy cabbage, radishes, ginger, garlic and hot chili pepper. These products are gluten free, vegan and under the OK.
3. Roasted Seaweed Snack by TrueSea
While roasted seaweed snacks have been popular in the macrobiotic and paleo foods section of Whole Foods Market for some time, none that are currently on the American market have a hechsher. TrueSea is looking to change that, as their OU certified seaweed is the first to combine a crispy, salty taste and enhanced kashrus. Sholom Okolica of Kosher Japan says that as opposed to how things used to be, “seaweed is now grown underwater in cages to ensure that less bugs and seahorses can infiltrate it.”
4. Dessert Hummus from Mikee
Although it sounds crazy to combine chocolate and chickpeas, these were actually delicious and a hit at the event. Tasting somewhat like frosting or cookie butter, the dessert hummus will be available next to the savory hummus in the refrigerated case at the market. The hummus will come in the following flavors: Cookie Dough, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate, Snickerdoodle and Mint Chip. Nina Gruenfeld of Great Kosher Restaurants said that out of everything at Kosherfest, “The cookie dough hummus is the most memorable thing I’ve tried.”