(Published in the Georgia Grown Newsletter)
- What are the benefits of AKC Kosher certification for a Georgia Grown company?
Kosher certification connects you to customers that you couldn’t have accessed without certification. In your typical supermarket, 40% of the items on the store shelves are certified Kosher. If you want to even have a chance to sell to Nabisco, Heinz, General Mills, or many other very large companies you need to be certified Kosher. In the retail environment, Kosher will help you get your product on the shelves of grocery stores and have a greater chance to be bought by the ever more discerning customers in today’s markets.
- Do you have an example of a success story?
One story that jumps to mind is when Hardy’s Peanuts was contacted by a potential customer looking to order a few pallets of product. The customer requested that they become Kosher certified. Hardy’s decided to become Kosher and came to us to certify their facility. That decision changed their business. Their Kosher certification enabled them to access new customers that order their products by the truckload. A small investment for a great return.
- What areas do you cover–are you only in Atlanta?
Our job would be much easier if we only worked in Atlanta. We travel the whole Southeast to help companies access the Kosher market. On any given day one of our Rabbis can be in Rome, Tifton or Asheville, NC.
- Do you have to be present each time the manufacturing plant is running?
No, we visit industrial facilities periodically to ensure that Kosher requirements are being met. The frequency of visits varies depending on the company’s procedures and products.
- What does it cost?
That is the first question that jumps to mind but it is very hard to answer. The cost varies greatly depending on frequency of visits and our travel costs. A water company in Atlanta that we might only visit once a year will have a very different cost than a bakery that we are visiting monthly in Mobile, Alabama. That being said, we strive to be as transparent as possible, and we charge an all-inclusive annual fee. You will always know exactly what the price will be before choosing to become certified. We will work with you to structure the payment schedule in a way that works best for your business. There is an initial inspection fee for companies outside of Metro Atlanta.
- What are the steps necessary to be certified Kosher?
1. Application – Gather together all required Kosher documentation of your raw materials.
2. Discovery Meeting – We will try to better understand your Kosher needs based on your products and your business model.
3. Initial Inspection – A Rabbi will visit your facility to assess what steps need to be taken to make the plant kosher and how frequently the production facility will need to be visited.
4. Agreement and Contract – All costs and Kosher requirements will be included.
- How long does the process take?
We can try do it yesterday if you need. Once the application is filled out, we strive to have someone at your facility ASAP. Today’s business environment moves fast, and we know how important it is to keep up.
- Do you have recommendations for basic Kosher information, i.e. definite “no” ingredients”?
If you make pork or seafood products, we hope your business does well but we can’t certify it as Kosher. In general, meat, fish, wine and cheese products are very difficult to be certified Kosher. Products like nuts, honey, grain and vegan products are easily certified.
- I have a Cottage Food License and am looking to expand can I be Kosher certified?
Kosher requires dedicated production space and equipment. If you are still producing out of your home or in a shared kitchen you can’t yet be Kosher certified. Keep it up! You’ll be able to be certified in no time!
- Is your agency recognized out of the Southeast?
Yes! We are a recognized member of AKO, the umbrella organization for Kosher Agencies worldwide. Even though we are recognized internationally, we are a local business. We understand what a Georgia Grown company needs and can adapt to fit YOUR needs. We don’t have to fly someone in from out of town or maintain multiple offices so we have lower costs and we can pass that savings on to you.
- Any final thoughts?
I would love to give a shout out to the many Georgia Grown companies that are AKC certified. Also, thank you to all the hard-working men and women that are the backbone of our state’s economy.
- How can Georgia Grown members reach you to learn more?
They can check us out online at https://kosheratlanta.org/certification/.
The Kosher industry can be confusing at first. Don’t give up! It’s worth it! Feel free to use us as a resource. We are happy to answer any questions that you might have.