What is that “K” Symbol and How You Can Use it on Food Packaging
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 05/31/2017 | 4 Minute Read
By: Dina Fraenkel
Did you know there’s one small symbol that you can put on your product that will open you up to a whole new market? A recognizable and reliable kosher certification logo on your product means that hundreds of thousands of kosher consumers will now consider your offering. Certainly, going kosher is much more than putting a symbol on your packaging, but the finer points of certification is a discussion unto itself. Today, let’s dive into the need to print the actual logo on your product. After all, the most important information is only useful if people actually know about it!
Increasingly, companies in the food/beverage industries are placing their kosher certification symbol front and center when designing labels, along with all the other categories they would like to promote—organic, non GMO, GF, etc. But every unique kosher symbol (of which there are hundreds) represents a different kosher certification agency, with different standards.
The OK Kosher mark is one of the world’s best-known trademarks; it immediately and universally increases company marketability, accountability, and kosher acceptability. Since 1935 OK Kosher has been well regarded for its unique approach to kosher certification, technology, and innovation in the continually evolving food and beverage industry.
The kosher food industry has experienced outstanding growth over the past few years. In 2015, sales of kosher certified products soared 15% despite volatile markets and economic downturns. In US communities with large Jewish populations, sales grew by more than 20%. These numbers directly correlate with the prevailing trend of consumers looking for the kosher symbol when purchasing groceries. In fact, the majority of kosher consumers do not buy kosher as a fulfillment of Jewish law. Most kosher consumers are looking towards the increased oversight, perceived health benefits, halal compatibility and allergy friendly products.
Side by side with recent changes to FDA labeling requirements, we at OK Kosher are encouraging our certified companies to move their kosher symbol to the front of the packaging with the nutrition facts, which will alert and guide the many groups of consumers who look out for kosher.
One disadvantage of the OK symbol being so universally recognized, is that designers themselves, when told ‘our products are kosher certified’ will often choose the OK symbol since it looks aesthetically pleasing and fits the ‘symbol of kosher’ brief well—even if the actual certifying agency is not OK Kosher. This results in us having to defend our globally trademarked symbol, sometimes resorting to legal action.
Once your company has made the decision to go kosher, and you are working with your packaging designer, how do you decide what kosher symbol to use? It’s simple: you use the specific symbol sent to you by your kosher certifying agency. Each trademarked symbol represents a different agency, so using the wrong one can open you up to legal consequences for trademark infringement. The kosher agency that you have contracted with will send you the exact symbol to use for each certified product. It’s essential that you only use that specific symbol on your packaging if you want to avoid any recalls and legal action.
Each variation of a kosher symbol (including the letter ‘D’ to represent a Dairy status, or the letter ‘P’ to represent approval for Passover) has a serious impact on the kosher status of the product, and a part of our certification service is reviewing each and every product label design before it is used, to ensure the correct information is provided.
Occasionally, we run into issues where a letter designation is omitted or added in error. In those cases, we need to work with the company to recall completely or relabel the affected product, as well as alert the consumer public, through Facebook, Twitter and other media outlets.
Where and how you display your kosher symbol matters; a prominent, clear and accurate display of a recognized and reliable kosher certification has the power to boost sales, raise revenues and open up new markets for your product.