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Can kosher food be plugged in? Manischewitz is banking on this for its rebranding.

What makes this Easter different from all other Easters? Maybe it’s the box of matzoh on your kitchen table.

Manischewitz, the 136-year-old kosher food brand synonymous with Passover, has changed its look to attract new customers, especially the culturally curious. The new tangerine packaging and arched logo are a complete reinvention of a range of foods often eaten during the eight days a year when Jews commemorate their liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt.

The rebranding aims to broaden its appeal to new generations, especially those who like to try different cuisines, said Shani Seidman, chief marketing officer of Manischewitz’s parent company, Kayco. “We offer authentic Jewish cuisine and we think there are many opportunities to invite everyone to come and explore the kosher aisle,” she said. It “should be a culinary destination.”

The rollout comes just in time for Passover, which begins on the evening of April 22, when many households abstain from sourdough bread and turn to one of the company’s most important products: matzoh. Shoppers will now also find Manischewitz’s Gefilte Fish, Egg Noodles and Macarons in new packaging adorned with Hebrew-inspired accents, illustrated characters and hues of reds, oranges, yellows and browns. And new products are in the works: from cheeky products to matzoh balls and frozen knishes.

(Manischewitz should not be confused with Manischewitz Wines, which is a separate company.)

Privately held Kayco has partnered with JKR Global, the agency behind the Dunkin’, Burger King, Uber and Fanta brands. The creative team leaned into the brand’s Jewish roots while trying to appeal to an audience “much more open to all types of food,” said Lisa Smith, global executive creative director at JKR. “So why not celebrate a food so loved by so many, and then amplify it? This is a huge moment of growth and opportunity.

JKR conducted research with a wide range of consumers, from those who keep kosher to those who are more “food curious,” Smith said, and considered designs that could be considered timeless.

“We’re not trying to be trendy for the sake of it,” she said. Instead, they focus on capturing the essence of a brand, which came from “craving, comforting, inviting and welcoming… and simply amplifying them” .

The three-year rebranding is not without risk, especially for products that have looked the same for decades. This requires a delicate balance between avoiding “upsetting your existing market … while still doing something modern enough to attract the attention of the new market,” said Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania .

Consumers might have trouble finding the product (although that may be less of a problem for Manischewitz because most supermarkets don’t carry a wide selection of kosher items) or think the quality of the product has changed, Kahn said.

“If the packaging is that different, you run that risk. I don’t know if that will happen in this case or not, but there are examples of that.” The Tropicana rebranding in 2009 is a classic example. The orange juice box was so unrecognizable that it caused a 20% drop in sales and a loss of $30 million.

But Manischewitz has to play the long game, said Jonathan Levav, a marketing professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It has a smaller loyal customer base, many of whom are aging. “Older people buy fewer things and have the annoying habit of disappearing,” he says. “And once they’re gone, you don’t want the brand to die with them.”

Brands need to adapt as the market evolves, Levav said, finding ways to entice and incentivize customers to buy the product. That’s one reason why Manischewitz is looking to expand its frozen food and snack offerings (now under the Mani’z banner).

“The goal here is to be a brand that’s there 365 days a year,” Seidman said.

Another way to sustain the brand is to convince consumers that it belongs with other cuisines like Indian, Chinese and Mexican, Kahn said. Just as many American families host “Taco Tuesdays,” Seidman envisions “Matzoh Ball Mondays” for “a consumer who doesn’t necessarily need to only buy foods they’re accustomed to.”

However, Manischewitz does not want to minimize his legacy. The brand sells T-shirts featuring puns and Yiddishisms like “Man I Shvitz” and a tote bag that says “Schlep” next to the brand’s logo.

“We didn’t want to be more mainstream so that the general public would like us,” she said. “We want to be authentically ourselves so that the mainstream consumer says, ‘I want to try this.’ » »

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