Is Kosher Getting Healthier?



I went kosher shopping in Antwerp last week where I bought meat for my freezer as well as all sorts of fresh and dry foods.

Usually I find that kosher biscuits and cake are case studies in unhealthy food. Here is a sample for the skeptics: sugars, wheat flour, eggs, water, vegetable oil, poppy seeds filling, emulsifiers (E433, E481, E491, E524), yeast, stabilizer E415, dietary fibers, soy flour, food starch, humectant E422, flavors, salt, citric acid, preservatives (E282, E202, E200). And this is just one item.

Yet as I looked around looking for parve cookies and cakes for a friend as well as for a cup of instant noodles for myself. I found that things seemed to be changing as the above photos suggest: no colorings, no preservatives, no trans, less salt, no added MSG …

This is a trend I have not witnessed in French kosher stores and interestingly all those products came from North America, not Israel. As for the organic section (a rather reduced product line), it contained American and European items.

Have you noticed a similar tendency where you live?

14 thoughts on “Is Kosher Getting Healthier?

  1. My favorite is when a can of Coke announces it is low cholesterol. This whole post makes me laugh. It’s U.S. marketing. Just because it’s low sodium doesn’t mean it’s healthy! For healthy, try the produce aisle.

    “poppy seeds filling” – hey, this part may actually be healthy. Unless you are allergic to poppy seeds.

    • I like to think that a little less sugar and no preservatives is a slight improvement. Something that certainly has not disappeared is palm oil.
      Mind you the good thing about living in a place that is totally deprived of kosher shops is that I know what is in my food.

  2. I haven’t really noticed a difference, and I read labels on everything. One has to know what to look for and pay attention.

    Low cholesterol is fine, but what about the other factors. Low sodium is fine, but what about the other factors.

  3. What I find is different is that there are more choices now. I agree that labels must be carefully read and usually if something is emphasized, (low sodium, for example) there is something else in the ingredients that is suspect. Those low sodium soups are what we call here “chemical food”–okay at times I guess, but you wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.

    In Israel, organic food is becoming more and more popular and organic sections are springing up in supermarkets everywhere.
    Happy Passover!

    • We also have lots of organic food in France. But even then it is necessary to read labels. It seems palm oil can be organic!
      I stick to organic fruit, vegetables and salmon.

  4. I review new Israeli items , on my blog ,daily so yes there is absolutely a trend in the “healthier” direction, but I have to be careful and look for all the “hidden” unhealthy things.
    Since I read labels ALL the time now, (so I can give as much information as possible in my posts ),YES I have notices things becoming healthier . Words like, low fat , no trans fat, no food coloring , no preservatives are is popping up on more and more items every day.
    One thing though they still use WAY to much sugar in way to many items.


  5. I remember those Tradition soups! We used to eat them as kids in the US. I remember they had half your sodium and a third of your fat intake for the day.

    Israel’s slowly moving toward healthier options also, but unlike Europe, we don’t have special kosher products. Those are the default.

  6. I suppose there is a slow crawl toward healthier kosher food (we call it “heimishe” food in our house), but I still tend to buy non-heimishe brands and just get healthy food which also happens to be kosher. I suppose being in the US spoils me that way.

    I have noticed a growing trend of healthier kosher cookbooks, which I find refreshing.

  7. Pingback: Pre-Pesach Review with Lilac | Ilana-Davita

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s