Italy eyes US kosher food revival in collaboration deal 

The Italy America Chamber of Commerce (IACC) announces agreement with leading US certification body OU Kosher to help Italian producers enter this growing food segment
Italy eyes US kosher food revival in collaboration deal 

A new collaboration agreement between the Italy America Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and Orthodox Union – OU Kosher promises to help Italian producers enter the kosher market, which is experiencing a revival as an increasing number of consumers turn toward natural and quality food.

Under the agreement, the Italy America Chamber of Commerce will organize events and initiatives in Italy to represent OU Kosher – the most important US certification body of kosher food, said Federico Tozzi, the newly-appointed secretary general of IACC.

“The US kosher market is growing and there is increasing interest from large supermarket chains and specialty stores to enrich the offer of products available by including specialty food from other countries, and we have seen that Italian producers are drawing special interest,” said Tozzi.

IACC, a US-based private organization founded in 1887 to foster trade between Italy and the United States and affiliated with the US Chamber and Italy’s Assocamerestero, will also promote initiatives to help US buyers from supermarket groups specialized in kosher food meet with Italian producers, Tozzi said.

Eating kosher is a trend spreading beyond the Jewish community as consumers look for quality and healthy food. The kosher market has grown at a 10% rate since June 2008, according to Lubicom Marketing Consulting, and 21% of Americans say they at least occasionally buy products because they are kosher.

Religion accounts for only 40% of the reasons why consumers eat kosher food, with 55% citing health and safety, 38% saying they are vegetarians, and 35% citing taste and flavor, according to data by Lubicom and Mintel.

The OU symbol can be found on almost 1 million products worldwide, and the organization certifies 14 out of the 15 top US (non-meat) food and beverage companies as ranked by Food Processing. OU Kosher global manufacturers include brands such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, and Ferrero Rocher, as well as main private label distributors such as Walmart, Costco, Target, Price Chopper, Kroger, and Whole Foods.

The agreement with OU Kosher is part of larger collaborative efforts led by IACC to liaise with institutions and offer the maximum exposure to Italian producers investing in the United States, the largest export market for Italian foodstuff outside the EU.

“This role has been the core mission of the IACC since its establishment in 1887 but is today of utmost importance due to the increasing relevance of the American market in the world economy and the growing number of Italian Companies present in the United States, said IACC president, Alberto Milani.

“Establishing a presence in the US is no longer an optional corporate strategy. It is a necessity for companies based abroad,” Milani said.

By Antonella Ciancio

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