Manischewitz uses cook-off to make kosher mainstream

NEWARK, NJ: Kosher food manufacturer Manischewitz is promoting its kosher products as appropriate for all consumers through a March cooking competition.

NEWARK, NJ: Kosher food manufacturer Manischewitz is promoting its kosher products as appropriate for all consumers through a March cooking competition.

The 2013 “Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off” contest, which will be held March 21, encourages “consumers of all walks of life to cook with kosher products,” said Stacey Bender, president and creative director of Bender-Hammerling Group Public Relations, which has worked with the food company for nearly a decade.

The competition will be hosted at the company's Newark, NJ, headquarters, where it will allow reporters and bloggers to see where the company's products are made and get to know the brand, said Bender.

About 100 people are expected to attend the event, half of which will be national and local print media, online journalists, and TV networks, she added. The agency, which a team of five staffers working on the campaign, has engaged a range of media from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and National Public Radio, Bender said.

Bender added that the cooking content will allow Manischewitz to spotlight its wide array of food products, which stretches from gefilte fish and matzos to soup broths and honey. Many consumers associate the company with Manischewitz wine, which is not part of its food portfolio, but is a licensed name for the brand, she added.

Social media is a core element of the initiative, which is now in its seventh year, said Bender. Consumers were invited to participate in the contest on Facebook, where they were asked to submit an original kosher recipe idea. Since submissions opened in November, Bender said the company has received “thousands of entries.”

It is also updating the Facebook page with contest information until the day of the cook-off, when the company will live-stream the event.

Manischewitz will also promote the contest on Twitter. Bender said Jamie Geller, founder of The Kosher Media Network, will also tweet from her own account using the hashtag #ManiCookOff13.

To get consumers involved in the contest, the brand will post five semi-finalists on its website, allowing fans to vote for their favorite on Facebook or Twitter from February 21 to 28. The top choice will make it to the contest, along with four other finalists picked by a panel of judges.

This year, Manischewitz is also showcasing its gluten-free, low-sodium, and salt-free products, which now have health and wellness icons on the packaging.

Manischewitz representatives were not immediately available for comment. 

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