Ever heard of Manischewitz?

April 14, 2012

NPR’s Planet Money aired an fun story this week on the Matzo economy.

Manischewitz is the largest and most recognized brand of Kosher food in the U.S.  I’m not sure if the link will stream internationally so here’s the lesson of the story: “For some companies, huge amounts of incredibly difficult to follow, expensive regulation, is the best thing. It is their competitive advantage’.

Any food production company faces numerous regulations. In addition to all the government regulations, however, Manischewitz products must also conform to an array of ancient Jewish laws enforced by an agency called the Orthodox Union.  For example, the Union has established that Kosher for passover means the Matzo dough was fully cooked less than 18 minutes after the flour hit the water.

What prevents Manischewitz from skirting the rules?  The five regulatory rabbis that oversee daily operations on the line.  As the NPR report points out, unlink financial regulations, kosher for passover regulations are supposed to be a ‘pain in the tuchus‘.   Image

2 Responses to “Ever heard of Manischewitz?”

  1. danielbeunza Says:

    Martha — thanks for the post. May I suggest that we don’t use logos in future blogposts?

  2. yuvalmillo Says:

    Kosher rules a serious ’embedding device’ – a way to legitimize, indeed, necessitate, costs and pricing by attaching them to interpretations of 3,000-years old text. If you think Manischewitz is a big story, check what’s happening in Israel with the 30-odd different versions of Kosher accreditations going on…


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