Secaucus, NJ - Kosherfest Wows Yet Again, While Helping Sandy Victims (video-photos)
Last updated on: November 15, 2012 11:04 PM
Seacacus, NJ - Kosherfest, the world’s largest kosher food show took on a new face this year, as the annual event not only showcased a dizzying array of kosher products, both innovative and traditional, but also became a vehicle to provide food to the many victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Approximately $200,000 worth of leftover food from the show, which took place this past Tuesday and Wednesday at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ, was donated to both the Metropolitan Council Food Pantry and Masbia and will be used to provide meals for those who are still dealing with aftermath of the late October superstorm. Several private companies including Manishewitz and Agri Star Meat and Poultry also donated food for storm victims.
Kosherfest founder Menachem Lubinsky welcomed the opportunity to do his part for hurricane victims.
“When Hashem gives you an opportunity to do a mitzvah and really make a difference in the world, of course you grab it,” Lubinsky told VIN News.
All photos and video credit: Shimon Gifter/VINNews
Kosherfest also donated $5,000 to Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood and to the Metropolitan Council Food Pantry.
“We wanted to do something for institutions in both New York and New Jersey,” explained Lubinsky. “My understanding is that while Metropolitan will use the money to buy more food, Beis Medrash Govoha will be purchasing a generator.”
Twenty four years after the first Kosherfest opened with sixty nine booths and seventy visitors, the show has grown beyond Lubinsky’s wildest dreams and this year the show featured 265 exhibitors, 369 booths and attracted over 7000 visitors. The kosher food market has also undergone massive changes.
“Kosher products today could go into any establishment and compete favorably,” reported Lubinsky. “The biggest change I have see is that manufacturers have somehow figured out the technology to make products that are healthy, yet don’t compromise in any way on taste. Many of the products we are seeing is of such high quality and so well packaged that many kosher products are making their way into the mainstream market.”
The annual event attracted exhibitors from all over the world with international exhibitors coming from far and wide, including Canada, Israel, Europe, Russia and Argentina and for the first time ever, the Phillipines.
“There are dozens of companies producing kosher food in the Phillipines and they are actively looking to recruit more business from the kosher food industry,” said Lubinsky. “They had a huge display that took up half of an entire aisle.”
Among the visitors to Kosherfest were a group of Jewish soldiers who have been receiving food from Kosher Troops, which sends kosher food and holiday baskets to servicemen and women stationed abroad.
“They were so grateful for the opportunity to thank the many vendors who have supplied them with real food instead of having to rely on military issued MRE’s,” explained Lubinsky.
As always, this year’s event featured numerous sessions on various topics, including a knife skills demonstration, a culinary competition and an opportunity to speak with well known kosher cookbook authors including Jamie Geller, Levana Kirschenbaum, Leah Schapira and others. But for most attendees, Kosherfest is all about tasting the food.
“Much of the food seemed to very specialized and geared towards the more sophisticated and upscale palate of today’s kosher consumer,” said Josh Eller of Creatively Kosher in Monsey. “There were lots of low calorie and healthy food options as well as many products that have only recently become kosher giving the kosher consumer the opportunity to taste some foods for the first time.”
Like so many others, Eller was on the lookout for products that were new and innovative and one of his favorites, a fish hot dog produced by the Brooklyn based Sterling Sales that was made out of carp, corn syrup and spices and seemed to defy logic.
“I have had salmon cold cuts before and nothing compares to this,” said Eller. “This was perfectly synthesized, with a proper hot dog crunch and the texture and flavor of hot dogs and no fish taste at all.”
Lubinsky is already looking ahead to next year’s Kosherfest which is scheduled to take place on October 29th and 30th at the Meadowlands.
“This will be our twenty fifth anniversary and we hope to identify exhibitors who have been with us every year and show their growth over the years as well as show the difference in product range since the launch of our inaugural exhibition.”
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