Main content area

Food beliefs and food supply chains: The impact of religion and religiosity in Israel

Heiman, Amir, Gordon, Ben, Zilberman, David
Food policy 2019 v.83 pp. 363-369
Jews, Muslims, certification, fast foods, food beliefs, food chain, food consumption, food supply chain, immigration, income, pork, supermarkets, supply chain, technological change, Israel, Russia
This paper demonstrates that religion and religiosity affect norms, which affect food consumption patterns and production. Heterogeneity and asymmetric information lead to multiple certification channels as well as multiple supply chains. Major supply chains may address multiple constituencies that are secular or less religious. Technological change affects norms and thus the food system. We obtain these results by analyzing the food systems for meat products in Israel where there are three religions – Jews, Muslims, and Christians – and people assign themselves three levels of religiosity – secular, conservative, and orthodox. Israel has multiple Kosher and Halal certifiers and several specialized supermarket chains for orthodox groups. Its main supermarket chains serve secular and some conservative segments. The immigration of secular Jews from Russia led to the proliferation of non-Kosher supply chains and products, and increased consumption of pork. New technologies and higher incomes led to emergence of fast food chains serving orthodox Jews that had previously tended to eat at home.