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Welch's enters kosher juice market just before Passover


Welch's now has a kosher certified version of its popular grape juice. (Welch's)

A food fight is breaking out in the kosher aisle — just in time for Passover next month.

Manischewitz and Kedem — two established, national kosher food brands — will be duking it out for the first time over grape juice, a product Kedem has been making since 1958 and one that Manischewitz just launched with grape king Welch’s.

Supermarkets have started to get shipments of the co-branded product, which is made in Welch’s facility with rabbinical oversight.

Until now, “Kedem was the only competitor in this category that registered,” said David Sugarman, chief executive of Newark-based Manischewitz, “and we felt we could come out with a better product that tastes better.”

With $12 billion in annual sales, the kosher food industry is barely growing, so stealing market share is an attractive growth strategy.

“No one has been around as long as us,” said Mordi Herzog, chief executive of Royal Wine Corp., which owns Kedem and is based in Bayonne, NJ. Herzog declined to discuss his new competition, which will likely cut into Kedem’s margins. Kedem also makes wine in the Hudson Valley region.

The Welch’s kosher product goes for as little as $2.50 for a 64-ounce bottle, which is a steal compared to Welch’s average prices for Concord grape juice, which range from $3.50 to $4, said Ike Kim, senior brand manager for Welch’s.

By contrast, Kedem’s juice is sold at Walmart for $5.22.

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