The kosher food industry grew by an average 10% in 2023, according to Menachem Lubinsky, founder and producer of Kosherfest and publisher of Kosher Today in his 34th annual State of the Kosher Food Industry report. In a national survey, there were some retailers that experienced as much as 18% growth while others realized 6% or less  growth. “Obviously those communities with significant natural growth and updated demographics secured much greater growth,” he said.

The Lubicom report noted a number of issues that were faced by the kosher community. Due to overall increases in prices for ingredients and commodities, consumers were forced to pay as much as 15% higher on some goods. For example, repeated issues with bird flu in chickens have spiked prices for eggs, so important for kosher consumers. Some products were in short supply due to shipping issues from overseas, many attributed to the ongoing wars in the Ukraine and the Middle East. Fats and oils had the largest average price increase by 9 % between 2022 and 2023, followed by sugar and sweets (8.7 percent), cereals and bakery products (8.4 percent), and processed fruits and vegetables (8.0 percent). Retailers said that consumers were often not aware of the effect of overall market increases that are forcing kosher retailers to pass along increases to consumers. The sharply increased price of kosher meats has had a major effect on kosher including restaurants, which continued to open at an impressive rate in 2023. In 2023, prices increased for two categories tracked by USDA, cattle by 22% and wholesale beef by 13.5%. These costs were in addition to the increased costs of kosher.

The trend of opening new mega stores continued in various Jewish communities with at least 6  slated to open in 2024. There are now over 50 stores with at least 15,000 square feet and as much as 50,000 square feet, as part of a trend that began with the Pomegranate Supermarket in Brooklyn in 2008.

Of some 15,000 new products introduced in the USA in 2023, at least 5000 include kosher certification. According to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union (OU) the majority of new kosher certifications is in the food ingredient market. “Every major company realizes that without kosher certified ingredients they cannot hope to make inroads in the kosher market,” Rabbi Elefant said. In fact, the OU certified a record 1850 plants and venues in 2023. Other major kashrus agencies reported similar activity in the ingredient sector.

Some retailers said that takeout has grown faster than other categories such as dry grocery, refrigerated and frozen and has provided them with healthy margins. One retailer said that his takeout counter is the answer to “What’s for dinner tonight,” all week long. The takeout counter is particularly popular before Shabbos with such major sellers as cholent, kugel, kishke, salads and dips. While some $13 billion of food sold in the US is kosher, the kosher market or people who buy kosher year-round is approaching $4 billion.

While on-line kosher sales were slow to catch on in the kosher food market, they have been steadily going up since COVID. The use of door-to-door delivery such as Uber has dramatically increased the food delivery of kosher, both in retail and foodservice.

The Israel war against Hamas has not affected kosher in a major way. The US kosher market is dominated by domestically produced foods  with some exceptions such as Matzoh, crackers, chocolates, and some snack items, particularly for Passover.

Lubinsky predicted that 2024 would be a banner year for kosher but warned that many prices will continue to spiral upward.