New York – Concern over an adequate supply of beef for the upcoming holidays may be complicated by this year’s Jewish calendar, experts told KosherToday. Because of the way the Jewish holidays fall in October, kosher slaughter and production will be interrupted for 10-12 days during the month, further jeopardizing an adequate supply of beef for the holidays. It is for that reason that many kosher stores have been stocking freezers well in advance of the holidays.
The major reasons for the decline in the supply of kosher beef are the cutbacks in production at Agriprocessors and the fact that South America is no longer a significant source for beef, say the experts. Producers have found it difficult to increase production since they have few options for slaughterhouses that will allow kosher slaughter. Even with the addition of several newcomers to the kosher beef market in the coming weeks, kosher consumers face “challenging times ahead,” said one major distributor of kosher beef (who provided anonymous insight to the current conditions in the marketplace). “These are extremely trying times in the kosher beef market,” he added. “Commodity and fuel prices continue to go up, while a recession is forcing some consumers to cut out beef altogether.” Yet, he predicted that demand would soar during the holidays.
Fears of shortages in poultry do not appear to have materialized with the expectation that many shoppers will opt for the chicken, especially if they can’t get the beef. He said that the kosher consumers are “facing an unprecedented crisis in kosher schechita.”