WYNNEWOOD, Pa. -- Local Jewish consumers have warmed up to a new line of sushi, the latest fresh kosher offering at the Genuardi's Family Market store here.
The store sells about 35 packs of kosher sushi per day, in addition to non-kosher conventional sushi, said John Gunning, specialty food manager of the two-level, 93,000-square-foot supermarket. Genuardi's, a division of Safeway, operates 38 stores in the Philadelphia area.
"Given the group that we're marketing to, that's pretty impressive," Gunning said, adding that most consumers buying the kosher sushi products are from suburban Wynnewood's sizeable Jewish community.
Rolling out the line required an investment on the retailer's part. Genuardi's purchased all new knives and cutting boards for the kosher sushi. Advanced Fresh Concepts, which franchises its sushi bars inside almost 2,000 supermarkets, sports arenas and college campuses, provides the sushi chefs. The chefs work at the kosher deli where the sushi is sold from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sushi is available to take home or for dining in the store's food court.
An average pack, containing six to eight sushi rolls, retails for $5.99 to $10.99. Party trays are available as well. The kosher products are available every day except Saturday, which is Shabbat. The strongest sales are seen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while business slows down Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
When asked how challenging it has been to run a kosher sushi program, Gunning told SN, "It's been a little bit challenging in certain aspects of keeping it kosher. We have mashgiachs on site to check and make sure that everything is kosher."
The mashgiach is an Orthodox rabbi, or a person appointed or approved by such a rabbi, who is responsible for preventing violations of Jewish dietary laws. He inspects restaurants where food assumed to be kosher is prepared for the public. The mashgiach is first approved by OK Kosher Certification, and then becomes an employee of the store. Everything from the nori (seaweed) to the fish in Genuardi's kosher sushi gets OK Kosher Certification.
To promote the line, Genuardi's sent news releases to Kosher Today and Jewish Exponent Magazine. Store associates also put up posters in metal framing, advertising the kosher products available.
Offering fresh kosher foods that aren't easy to find at other supermarkets helps the retailer maintain a competitive edge, Gunning said. The store offers a selection of fresh-cut glatt kosher red meat, in addition to its kosher deli.