Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon reports that public demand for kosher products has increased exponentially in the past 25 years. Estimates show that the kosher market has grown by a rate of about 15 percent annually. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon says that agencies are seeking kosher certification as a way to expand their market and enhance sales.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon says that consumers are currently able to choose from more than 75,000 kosher food products. Nearly 10,000 organizations manufacture products intended for the kosher market. As proof of this burgeoning market, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon points out that about 3,000 new products are introduced annually.
KSA Kosher founder Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon answers questions about kosher gelatin and its many uses.
Q: What does kosher gelatin contain?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Kosher gelatin may be obtained from beef or kosher fish skin and bones or from a vegetarian base of agar agar. Bovine gelatin must have derived from animals slaughtered in accordance with kosher standards.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon is the administrator of Kosher Supervision of America (KSA), one of the nation’s premier kosher certification agencies, based in Los Angeles, California. Here, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon answers questions about the surprising popularity of kosher foods among consumers in recent years.
Q: It used to be that kosher foods had a very limited market, did they not?
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon: Perhaps. Most people used to think of kosher as only appealing to Jewish consumers who observed the Kashrus dietary law found in the Torah. But that has changed.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon is a respected leader in the Jewish community. Along with a group of Kashrus experts, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon created KSA Kosher, a food certification company that focuses on creating safe, healthy food for the consumer market.
With his extensive experience, Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon has learned that the benefits of a kosher lifestyle go beyond the Jewish faith. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon regularly communicates these benefits to others, both members of his Los Angeles-based Chabad Center and those he meets outside of the Jewish community.
Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon encourages kosher consumers to be vigilant about not only the foods they eat, but also the ingredients in those foods. Most people do not realize that flavor ingredients are found in some form in nearly every product available in today’s supermarkets. It is especially unsettling for the Jewish community to learn that some of the foods they believe to be kosher-compliant are not 100 percent kosher-certified products. There is a difference.
Thousands of flavors and flavor enhancers are found in most supermarket foods, especially in processed foods. Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon acknowledges it is very frustrating to find that the labels on those products give no clue as to whether the mixture of artificial and natural flavors used in the products is an acceptable from a Kashrus perspective. The law only requires the item be labeled “natural flavors and/or artificial flavors.” What is really in those added “flavors” remains a mystery to the average consumer. The manufacturer may be unaware of all the ingredients used in the flavor composition they purchase from the flavor company, so the purchaser has no way of knowing how the flavors are extracted, blended or dried.