Jan 8, 2012

How Many Products Do We Need?

I often read about the thousands of kosher products now available and how the kosher market is huge and is still growing, by leaps and bounds.  That's all fine and good.  It's helpful to Jews who live all over the US (and other countries) to have numerous kosher products available to them at their supermarket. 

What bothers me is where I think the kashrus field has gotten out of hand.  I read about mashgichim who travel to distant countries, leaving wife and children behind for long periods of time.  For example, a mashgiach who makes a trip to China, who has to fly to a remote area where the factory is located.  The factory produces the chemical sustance that stabilizes pareve ice cream, and another substance that stimulates the taste buds in an amazing way so pareve ice cream can taste better than dairy.  If all goes well, the ice cream company will be able to improve the taste, smell and quality of their ice creams.  The cost? The husband away from his family, without a minyan, without any Jewish amenities, without a proper Shabbos if he has to stay away that long.  And for what? For enhanced pareve ice cream.

Have you noticed the aisles full of kosher chips and kosher cookies and crackers? Do we need more kosher snacks? More sauces? More cereals? While we read articles about obesity and eating disorders in our frum publications, we turn the pages and see advertisements for more food products!

I saw a Chanuka ad in a frum magazine which said:

2011 Doughnut Collection
It's Natural to Lose Control

I was singularly unimpressed by this grubbe marketing idea.  But I digress.  Back to kashrus. If the kashrus agencies could explain why it is vital for ordinary products to be supervised by mashgichim living or visiting remote places, I would back down.  But I suspect that too many of the kashrus supervisors' visits could be cut out and those products wouldn't be missed.

1 comment:

  1. I do wonder why the snack aisle of any kosher store is the biggest aisle with the biggest selection. It is also sad that people complain about the cost of pre-checked broccoli, a food that can literally prevent serious disease, but they will happily and willingly fill their carts with non-nutritious junk that contributes to tooth decay, obesity, and possibly other disorders and allergies.
    OTOH, it is nice to see hechsherim on health foods, vitamins, and other nutritious products that would be laborious to prepare otherwise. Unfortunately, most production of most goods occurs in China and other remote places and any Jewish businessman will find himself traveling to make parnassa. Much of kosher food production is due to the increased demand of kosher certified foods by non-Jews, who regard kashrus supervision as an extra measure of food safety.