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Parve for the Course

A dispatch from Julie Gallagher, who edits the Center Store/Beverage section in Supermarket News, and is a regular contributor to our at-show blog, Total Access:

At this year's Kosherfest a panel of supermarket buyers and specialty distributors bestowed best-in-show honors on Manhattan-based Luck Chen for its heat-and-serve noodle bowls.

What may have been viewed as a major coup in the past, given the product's ethnic roots, is now par for the course. Especially considering that U.S. buyers have 120,000 kosher products to choose from, four in ten supermarket items are kosher and about 5,000 new foods introduced so far this year, have been, you guessed it, kosher.

The designation has become so mainstream that as I perused the show floor yesterday I had to remind myself of the common thread tying such varied products together. Take for instance Organic Batter Blasters, which is pancake batter in a whip cream can suitable for "lightening fast breakfasts on the go." Its maker seems to have covered several bases here given the product's appeal to convenience-seekers, kosher keepers and organic consumers. It remains to be seen how organic shoppers will react to the pressurized can.

Then there is a new microwavable treat from Spain: tunafish pizza in a an ice cream cone-shaped crust touted as "the new way of eating pizza." Don't worry about balancing the cone for heating, apparently its box is microwavable too.

The makers of Vinegar Splash Smart Fries air-popped potato sticks were also on hand. The 110-calorie-per-serving treats contain 80% less fat than potato chips, and are free of cholesterol, sugar and trans fat.

Also featured at the show was Sheer Bliss All Natural Gourmet Pomegranate ice cream in a tin can. Its package helps it maintain its integrity better than a carton could, according to its enthusiastic promoter. Publix and Whole Foods are among the retailers who've picked up the product.