Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seasonal business

I purposely did not post this item last week, but I was certainly thinking about it after hearing about these items. I'll let the Frugal Buffet tell the first story:

As I wandered through the aisles of the supermarket, whistling to myself and glancing at the food products as they went by me, I began to notice that a number of traditionally Jewish foods seemed to be on sale. "This is natural," I thought to myself, "After all, it is Passo...o...o...oh my god! Passover! Kosher Coke! It's Kosher Coke season!" I made an abrupt 90 degree turn to my right and headed straight for the section where the soda is stocked....

Before I say any more, I should probably explain what Kosher Coke is, in case some people don't know. I first became aware of it myself about two years ago. Kosher Coke is just like regular Coke, except that they use Cane Sugar instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Cane Sugar was in fact what Coke originally used, and continued to use until, I think, the early 80s, when the Coca-Cola recipe was changed to use corn syrup instead of real sugar. This was done because corn syrup is cheaper as a result of the subsidization of corn by the U.S. Government. In other countries they still use the original recipe. Anway, Corn Syrup is apparently not considered Kosher during Passover, and so a special Kosher Coke can be found at grocery stores around that time, especially in parts of the country with high Jewish populations. It can be identified immediately because it has a yellow bottle cap. On the top of the cap is some Hebrew writing, which I assume means something to the effect of "Kid tested, Rabbi approved."

More here. (Aside: while not specifically kosher - I assume no rabbi monitored its manufacture - you can get Mexican-manufactured Coke, which uses sugar, at some stores in my area.)

I'll turn to the New York Times for this next item.

WHEN Robert Uri Heller, a psychologist and professor at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, leads a Passover Seder in Chicago on Saturday, some of the rituals symbolizing Jews’ exodus from Egypt may be lost on the yarmulke-wearing guests.

Those guests will, after all, be dogs.

The Seder, which will be conducted at a pet store, Wigglyville, is being sponsored by Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company to promote its kosher varieties, which have been endorsed by the Chicago Rabbinical Council....

For Evanger’ is serious business. Holly Sher, who owns the company, which is based in Wheeling, Ill., said that in the week before Passover she receives dozens of calls from Jews, who sometimes learn only a few days before the weeklong holiday that she makes kosher food, and want her to send a 24-can case overnight. The cost of shipping alone to New York, where she has sent many of the orders, is $110, added to the cost of the food, more than $70 a case for some varieties.

But Coca-Cola and Evanger's aren't the only companies catering to this particular seasonal market.

Evanger’s places an advertisement each year in the Chicago Rabbinical Society’s Passover guide, a list of kosher groceries that is circulated nationally to more than 12,000 homes. This year’s ad depicts a Passover grocery list that includes gefilte fish, matzo meal and Evanger’s pet food.

More here.

The Passover market is just one example of a seasonal market that companies are rushing to address. There are some huge seasonal markets, most of which (such as the Super Bowl) are religious in nature, but there are also all of the seasonal holidays that Hallmark and the like have promoted over the years.

And there are much smaller seasonal items. Take a moment and think about the last conference that you attended. Even if the conference only had a few hundred people, it was an event that occurred on a particular day or days. Special items (badges, conference themed tote bags, or whatever) had to be produced for that event. In a way, your local conference shares some characteristics with the Super Bowl.

(Yes, I said it. Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl.)

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