Popularity of “eco-kosher” diet growing in U.S.

Eco-food awareness has undeniably seeped into the mainstream, and religious communities are no exception. More and more, a low-impact diet is seen not just as a matter of health or ethics, but as a spiritual obligation. As evidence, look no further than the quickly growing “eco-kosher” movement; its followers seek nourishment that not only adheres to traditional Jewish dietary laws, but is also local, organic, sustainable, and humane. Eager to make eco-kosher eating as easy as possible, a group of Conservative Jews is drawing up a label for packaged kosher foods to let consumers know when they are supporting a processor with a transparent business model, respect for animals and the earth, and fair treatment for employees. While only about 15 percent of the 5.2 million Jews in the U.S. keep strict kosher, surveys show that less than a quarter of shoppers who choose kosher items are observant Jews. The $225 billion segment encompasses about 100,000 items, so the new label could have a big impact.