Kosher. The word evokes pictures of kugel, kishka and caviar.
But forget the herring -- it's fish egg time. For two days, the second annual Kosher World Conference and Expo at the L.A. Convention Center plans to take conventioneers down an uncharted course into a yummy world of more than 100 exhibitors.
"This year, we have more, more, more," said Neil Ticktin, CEO of Kosher World. "More companies, products, showcases and attendees, as well as a new kosher cookbook. Even the 'Dennis Miller Show' will have a crew there."
Among the new products at the international trade show: caviar and bacon bits -- two items not often found in kosher homes. In addition to the New Product Showcase, look for a Wine & Spirits Pavilion, an International Pavilion, an Israeli Pavilion and an Ingredients Pavilion.
But it isn't just Jewish foodies and companies that are drawn to the expo.
"One of Kosher World's primary goals is to help grow the kosher market," Ticktin said. "One-third or more of Californians can make use of kosher -- only 20 percent to 30 percent of kosher food is consumed by Jews. Lactose intolerants [20 percent of the United States] can use pareve; Muslims use kosher because almost all products are halal [Islamic dietary law]."
In the months after the event, expect to see more kosher items at stores like Costco, Albertsons and Bristol Farms.
"Our goal is to bring kosher to mainstream and mainstream to kosher," Ticktin said. Last year's event had 3,380 attendees from 18 countries and 25 states.
Buyers will also be able to attend an accredited education program in classes like Kosher 101, which sold out during Kosher World 2004.
While the events on Feb. 15 are for companies and buyers only, for $18 the public can sample Kosher World on Feb. 16.
For more information, visit www.kosherworld.com or call (800) 895-3494 (attendees) or (877) 567-4376 (exhibitors).