Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jewish delis tackle sustainable food

“Sustainable,” “organic,” and “local” are buzz words currently for eating better. Households are struggling to make healthier choices and restaurants have hopped on that band wagon. The Jewish deli is one of New York’s, and possibly America’s, most famous and authentic places to eat. They, too, are facing the problem that their traditional foods might not be as healthy for their customers as once thought.

The article, "Can the Jewish deli survive the sustainable food movement?,” outlines the problems that this restaurant niche is facing. One of the biggest and most unique challenges for delis is convincing their customers that sustainable food is still authentic. Jewish delis are concerned that their customers will refuse to buy local products because they are accustomed to the commercialized goods. Such were the complaints when a California deli, Saul’s Deli, replaced commercially made, but beloved, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda with their own homemade drink. The owners of Saul’s explain they feel their food is more authentic since the switch and their customers keep coming back, despite the prices and some grumbling.

This is an encouraging sign since Jewish delis all over the country are closing. The article claims that the number of delis in New York has gone from thousands to dozens in the last fifty years. It is not surprising that deli owners are concerned about their future which such statistics but many believe that sustainable food is a step in the right direction.

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