Amid a food Zeitgeist that stresses health and quality, is concerned with the morality of eating meat, and values the local and the organic, a perhaps unsurprising trend has materialized: more and more non-Jewish folks want to buy food, and especially meat, marked with that U inside the circle. Only 15 percent of those deliberately buying kosher are doing so for religious reasons, and 40 percent of the products in most markets carry the kosher seal. Locavores see kosher food as “the next best thing”; those with food allergies see it as safer; vegetarians trust that something labeled “parve” has no meat or dairy; and ethical eaters believe that kosher slaughter—which requires a specific diet followed by a quick slice of the carotid artery—is more humane.
Kosher food has even become a totem for the Bourgeois-Bohemian set. Pomegranate market—“the kosher Whole Foods”—is located in a largely Orthodox neighborhood deep in Brooklyn, but that has not stopped it from attracting hordes of yuppies who live in brownstones closer to Manhattan. If you’re familiar with the demographics of Park Slope and Boerum Hill, you know that kosher food’s appeal for most of these people is not religious. Although in fairness, and as you know if you’re familiar with their demographics, not a few of these people are Jewish.