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Passover 2014 Recap

Kashrut.com had a banner season for Passover 2014.

Kashrut.com is a kosher-food-information website, established in May 1996. Since then, Kashrut.com has been providing information, alerts, and recipes, and we also serve as a clearinghouse for all of the Passover information on the web.

Passover 2014 Season: March 9, 2014 to April 23rd, 2014, the site had over 267,106 page downloads to 89,952 distinct hosts. The Passover index page itself had almost 35,000 visitors. The website transferred over 127.84 gigabytes of information.

We have found a few interesting things this Passover:

Healthy Ingredients:

People are looking for healthy products that are usable for Passover. We got quite a few questions from people looking for the following products to be used for Passover. These products conceivably be usable for Passover, but were not certified:

In most cases, I found that the kashrus agencies do not say that a product is usable for Passover unless it is certified as such. Both the manufacturers and the kashrus agencies are failing to address the healthy-food-for-Passover market, which is surprising, since many of these manufacturers are already careful with their processing or are aiming for the "free-from" allergen market, making them ideal for the gluten-free (non-gebruckts), soy-free and corn-free market of Pesach.

The OU has had no new products listed on the "gray pages" (products usable for Passover without Passover certification) in many years. However, they have looked at the usability of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and baby formula because of the great demand for these products, and have listed these elsewhere on their Passover website.1 Even though the OU is now certifying products containing kitniot for Passover (with that designation), these products which contain kitniout are listed as usable for but not certified as such for Passover.

Large Passover Documents:

Another problem was that the information that was online from the kosher-certifying agencies consisted of large documents, which were very difficult for users to navigate and find the information that they needed.

A problem that got worse in 2013 was an overdose of information. The kashrus agencies have produced large documents listing their Passover information, but these are hard to download and difficult to read on many electronic devices. They were also set up in a format in which it was difficult to search for information, and thus, resulted in less information getting through to the consumer.
From the questions that I got, I could tell that people were not reading them, or were unable to find the information that they needed.

Passover is the most important time for the kosher-food industry and the kashrus agencies. From Koshertoday: "As many as 80% of American Jews participate in at least one Seder, according to Jewish population studies, contributing to a dynamic Passover market, which represents nearly 40% of year-round kosher food sales. Retailers in Brooklyn, Monsey and Lakewood said that a growing community was simply buying more, an indication that demographics are playing a major role in the soaring kosher food market."
There is a lot that has been done, but a lot more can be done to ensure a supply of healthy foods that are available for use on this holiday.

1.From the OU Passover Book
non-certified almond milk that is usable for children and the infirm
non-certified coconut milk that is usable for children and the infirm
non-certified soy milk that is usable for children and the infirm
baby guidelines

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Arlene J. Mathes-Scharf  
Food Scientist - Kosher Food Specialist
Scharf Associates
P.O. Box 50
Sharon, MA 02067