Kosher is a biblical term that means “fit” or “proper.” Its most common usage is to denote the types of foods permitted for consumption according to Jewish Law. Over time, it has been incorporated into daily vernacular to mean that something is genuine, legitimate, official — kosher.
One of the myths about kosher certification is that the process consists of a rabbi simply blessing the food. In fact, kosher laws are a clearly defined and immutable body of laws that delineate those foods that conform to particular dietary specifications. The sources for the kosher laws are of Biblical origins and are expounded on in rabbinic legislation. Included in these specifications are which and how animals, fish, and birds should be prepared for consumption, methods of preparation and processing, and the prohibition of mixing meat and dairy products.
Given the complex and extensive nature of these laws, it is necessary for those who observe these laws to rely on certification from an accredited rabbinic organization. When a rabbi visits a kosher facility, he is insuring that the items produced there meet kosher requirements.
Companies large and small have found that kosher certification has given them the ability to reach a larger segment of the consumer market. The kosher marketplace continues to be one of the fastest growing parts of the food industry. Jews, Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, vegetarians, and others who perceive kosher as a sign of quality assurance look for the kosher symbol on the products they buy. Most of the companies that have obtained kosher certification have watched it pay off through increased sales. In addition, companies and supermarkets that private label their products will often seek manufacturers who are kosher certified.
12,350,000 - Number of Kosher Consumers in the US
21% - Percentage of Americans who either regularly or occasionally purchases kosher products because they are kosher (i.e. kosher hotdog)
Why Americans Buy Kosher:
(Note: Respondents gave multiple answers in the 2003, 2005, and 2009 studies)
55% - health and safety
38% - vegetarians
16% - eat halal
35% - taste or flavor
16% - met kosher guidelines
8% - good products
8% - keep kosher all the time
8% - looking for vegetarian products, either for religious or dietary reasons.
$12,500,000,000- Dollar Value of Market
$305,000,000,000- Dollar Value of Kosher Produced Goods USA
12%- Average Annual Growth (2010-2013)
The client may call the office for a free phone consultation (404-634-4063) to help determine whether the client is a good candidate for kosher supervision. The first step is to send in the application. In most cases, as soon as the complete application is received, a kosher inspection can be set up within a week or two.
The Certification Process
Complete the application, including information on what is produced by your company, as well as a thorough list of ingredients and processing agents, including those for which certification is not being applied. If certain items on those lists are already certified kosher, enclose kosher certification letters for those items. A travel and initial inspection fee may be required.
Once the application has been received, the AKC will review the application and discuss all aspects of the kosher requirements for the facility. The AKC will then set up the initial inspection at the facility. One of our Rabbinic Coordinators will visit each plant and determine what steps will be needed to grant and continue kosher supervision by the AKC. An analysis will be made to determine how frequently a local Rabbi must visit the production facility and what steps need to be taken to make the plant kosher. Potential fees will be reviewed and approved beforehand.
The AKC mails a contract if it is determined that the plant can meet our requirements for kosher certification. The contract will include all kosher requirements and any applicable fees. Some certification fees are as low as $100 a month. The fee depends on the complexity of the facility, the number of products certified, location and travel costs, and the number of visits required. AKC certification fees are some of the lowest in the kashruth industry. They are typically 30% to 50% less than some of the other national certifications.
A Kosher Certification Letter is granted upon receipt of a signed contract and payment, and when all of the stipulations of the contract are met. This then entitles the plant to include a registered symbol of the AKC on any products or facilities certified in the letter and to advertise that these products are certified kosher.