Over the last two decades, global demand for kosher products has been growing steadily, and many non-religious consumers view kosher as a healthy food option: in the US over 60 per cent of kosher food consumption is linked to non-religious values associated with health and food quality. This book explores the emergence and expansion of global kosher and halal markets with a particular focus on the UK and Denmark. While Kosher is a Hebrew term meaning 'fit' or 'proper', halal is an Arabic word that literally means 'permissible' or 'lawful'. The book discusses the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat (both red meat and poultry) with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It draws on contemporary empirical material to explore kosher and halal comparatively at different levels of the social scale, such as individual consumption, the marketplace, religious organisations and the state. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. Denmark plays an important role in biotechnology that is compatible with what we call kosher/halal transnational governmentality. The book explores how Jewish and Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice kosher consumption in their everyday lives. It also explores how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual.
they living in a world where koshermarkets are globalising. Even the most ‘secular’ of these consumers must relate
to and negotiate the larger issues we explore in this book: kosher as formative
K osher c on sum er s
of distinctions between individuals and groups in everyday life; the specific
national and local contexts that frame their lives and ‘kosher globalisation’;
including how transnational governmentality (Ferguson and Gupta 2002)
frames their everyday choices and how they must practice more self-discipline
in deciding what is and is not
complex ways. On the one hand, the UK koshermarket is expanding into the mainstream through hyper/supermarkets as rabbinical authorities attempt to expand their power and control over economic
goods qualified as kosher. On the other hand, as these processes expand and
questions over what kosher is or ought to be intensify in a globalising context,
so greater numbers of Jews are becoming more Orthodox and strict in terms
of their kashrut and shechita requirements.
An example of debate about what Islam/halal is or ought to be is Ahmadiyya
in Denmark, which also has a
-certified products or
go anywhere near a supermarket to buy kosher food: Yaakov Wise confirmed
this trend, pointing out that he only eats glatt kosher from strictly Orthodox
sources. While the expansion and development of the koshermarket in
Manchester mirrors the growth of a more Orthodox and demanding community, Yaakov also notes that young people have more disposable income
than they once did and hence like dining out more than the older generation.
Growth is also part of the trend towards middle-class suburbanisation, even
within the strictly Orthodox community (Wise 2006
, where kosher/halal are important
to smaller groups of religious consumers. While religious slaughter without
stunning is permitted in the UK, this is not the case in Denmark. Moreover,
we explore linkages between the two countries with respect to exports of meat
as well as non-meat products; for example, during fieldwork in Manchester we
found Danish kosher butter on sale. In addition to the contemporary empirical material, we also draw on and update materials the authors have collected
over many years.
Since the end of World War II, the koshermarket has
buying loose, raw, cooked and unpacked meat products from unsupervised
outlets, where kosher meat is sometimes mixed with non-kosher meat. The
licence acts as a seal of approval through the use of a hechsher –a rabbinical product certification visible in the form of a product label or stamp.
LBS has always provided two levels of kosher meat, one of which is the
higher standard of glatt kosher, marketed under the name ‘Chalak Beit
Yosef ’. To qualify as glatt, an examination is conducted to check for abrasions on the lungs. Meat that does not achieve the highest
market is more limited and non-
stunned slaughter is banned. Comparable to what we saw among the Jewish
consumers, Muslim consumers often ritualise not only the buying and consumption of food, but also more contextual practices and items such as utensils. For a number of reasons Muslim ritualisation of halal is not as elaborate
as that of Orthodox Jews, yet there is little doubt that the development of the
halal market to a large extent emulates what has happened to the koshermarket. We speculate that the two markets will be increasingly comparable.