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I have separated my previous question about Kellogg's cereals into different posts based on the comments on that question.

The cRc recommends Kellogg's cereals with only a k on the box. In my experience, I have not heard of anybody who disagrees with this. This is an unusual situation, though, since normally a plain k does not indicate reliable kashrut supervision. Apparently those cereals are under the supervision of the Rabbinical Council of New England (see linked question), but for some reason Kellogg's does not mark the boxes as being under their certification.

The Rabbinical Council of New England actually has its own logo which looks like this:

KVH Logo

I have seen the KVH logo on restaurants in Boston such as Cafe Eilat which the Young Israel of Brookline lists as kosher. This in addition to the fact that well-known organizations stand by their certification of Kellogg's foods indicates to me that they seem to indeed be a reliable kashrut organization. So why doesn't their logo appear on Kellogg's cereal boxes?

I do not believe that the reason is simply because the symbol is less well-known (compared to OU or OK). A hechsher that some people would have to look up still seems better than something that is not a real hechsher at all.

I also don't believe that the reason is so that they can change at any time (as suggested in the comments on the other post). Kellogg's does print OU and OK on products certified by those organizations, and the same rule should apply. In any case, I just don't see what is gained by printing a K rather than KVH.

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    As you probably know, politics comprises about 90% of what goes into product or restaurant certification. When I lived in Queens, NY, the owner of the "main" kosher market never wanted to be certified by the local Va'ad. This, of course, angered them for decades. Yet, he was certified by 1 or 2 rabbanim, and thousands of customers bought from him for a good 2 - 3 decades. (I think, about 10 years ago, they went under the Va'ad.) So, perhaps, Kellogs has a similar mentality / philosophy. The Va'ad or whomever, revokes the kashrut b/c of some political dispute, but the product is still kosher. – DanF Oct 20 '15 at 15:23
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    @DanF I don't quite follow the analogy. Here they do have the certification of a reliable kashrut agency. They just don't print their symbol on the box. – Daniel Oct 20 '15 at 15:25
  • Strange as this sounds, many Gentiles are turned away by a kosher symbol. Either anti-Semitism or they like Jews but hate rabbis and "restrictions". Many non-Jewish supermarkets in my neighborhood say "We sell kosher and non-kosher products". I asked an owner, why does he have to say "non-kosher", as Jewish customers know that, already. (It's understood that A & P sells ham and bacon, e.g.) The owner told me it's for the non-Jews so they don't think that we sell ONLY kosher products. Puzzled by this logic? Yes, so am I. Most Americans really are that "stupid". – DanF Oct 20 '15 at 15:39
  • @DanF Well they do have OU and OK on some of their products. – Daniel Oct 20 '15 at 15:49
  • Mystery. When I hear the name "Kellogs", I think, "corn flakes". It may be nothing more than marketing strategy. To them, the cereal comprises the huge majority of their sales. Maybe they want to target Gentiles more, in the cereals, and for other products, they want to increase their sales by targeting Jews so they put a kosher symbol. I know very little about food marketing strategy, which explains why I'm no "big cheese". – DanF Oct 20 '15 at 16:01
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Printing a typical Kosher symbol on a label represents a significant commitment on the part of the company. Not only do they have to maintain the item as Kosher, they have to maintain it as Kosher by this specific agency. If they have a falling out, they could have an inventory of labels easily worth over a million dollars and no way to use it without removing the trademarked symbol from each label, a very manual and defacing process.

Because a plain K symbol is not fully helpful to the consumer, the Kosher agencies have been successful in convincing companies to use the trademark on the label. It used to be more common to see "plain K" items from national certification agencies, but the practice is close to eliminated in recent years. The OU and the OK almost always insist on it at this point.

  • I don't think this is really plausibly the reason for Kellogg's. They have products under OU and OK and they label the boxes with those symbols. – Daniel Oct 20 '15 at 14:59
  • @Daniel They have cereals like that? Which? – Double AA Oct 20 '15 at 15:01
  • @DoubleAA Not sure about cereal, but definitely other products like Pringles. – Daniel Oct 20 '15 at 15:13
  • @Daniel, as I said, the OK and the OU insist. There are also a lot of merge and acquisition dynamics, as well as just existing arrangements that remain in place due to inertia, but based on my experience, this is the reason. I know of a company that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for certification for years but didn't print the symbol on the package (and thus couldn't market the Kosher) to make sure it worked out before committing to labels. – Yishai Oct 20 '15 at 15:44

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