Kosher vs. Kosher-Style Diets in Senior Living Hospitality

Kosher diets are based on traditions of the Jewish religion and follow the customs of Jewish law. These laws are found within the Torah, a sacred text used in the Jewish religion. They provide an outline of which foods are allowed, as well as how foods must be produced, processed, and prepared prior to consumption.

Many faith-based senior living communities provide this type of diet for their residents so that they may continue to actively observe the type of diet of their choice. However, as society and culture has evolved, some senior living communities have transitioned to more of a “Kosher-style” diet. This allows the community to continue honoring Jewish traditions while providing increased flexibility.

What is Kosher?

There are three main categories when it comes to a traditional Kosher diet: meat (mammals or fowl, as well as products derived from them), dairy (milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt), and pareve (any food that is not meat or dairy, including fish, eggs, and plant-based foods). However, Kosher is not just about the food itself, but also the preparation of the food. All meat and dairy products must be kept separate, in both preparation, production, and service. Additionally, there are certain types of meat and fish that are not Kosher. Specifically, pork and some cuts of beef such as filet mignon. Dairy must come from a Kosher animal and fish must have fins and scales.

The Kosher diet is deeply rooted in tradition and symbolism. That symbolism echoes down to the details of plates and how tables are set for dining, particularly for observance of holidays.

What is a Kosher-Style Diet?

Though our modern, busy lives frequently call for increased flexibility, maintaining the rich traditions of Jewish culture and history is very important for those who observe them. This also applies to senior living communities experiencing a shift in resident preferences and expectations. To meet resident preferences, many senior living communities have begun offering Kosher-style diets. This allows flexibility to match individual needs and preferences.

For example, some communities do not buy Kosher meat, but they do not allow pork or shellfish. Some may continue to separate dairy and meat, while others will combine the two types of foods. In all of these communities, holidays are honored with traditional cultural foods, though all may not be fully Kosher. Each community must determine what will work best for their residents.

Utilizing a Kosher-style diet offers flexibility while honoring cultural traditions yet also offers senior living communities the opportunity for greater cost efficiencies.

How Does CCL Implement Both?

Across Compass Community Living, our culinary and nutrition teams work in collaboration with senior living providers alongside guidance from the community’s Rabbi to ensure any Kosher-style diets continue to respect Jewish traditions. In some partner communities, we have been able to utilize our design team to design kitchens that can offer both Kosher-style and strictly Kosher diets. With the creative additions of separate cooking spaces, residents can then be offered whichever diet best meets their needs and offers that next level of personalized experiences.


Our chefs continually innovate and educate themselves on traditional menus and diets, including Kosher, while driving resident satisfaction in each decision. Corporate Executive Chef Mark Hoffman shares that “cooking Kosher and Kosher-style is another valuable form of being creative as a chef.” Learn more about what Compass Community living brings to the table here and discover how we can create personalized experiences based on dietary needs for your community’s dining program.

About Compass Community Living

Compass Community Living (CCL) is a division of Compass Group, a global culinary and support services leader. With over 15,000 associates nationwide, CCL offers the expertise of three powerhouse brands – Morrison Living, Coreworks and Unidine. CCL provides collaborative partnerships, emphasizing hospitality and service excellence, for over 850 retirement communities and behavioral health facilities across the country. Together, our family of companies deliver an experience known for innovation and a passion for service with proven management and strong operational infrastructure.

Browse additional resources

Examining the Importance of Nutrition in Treating Substance Use Disorders

Substance addiction can cause malnutrition and dietary imbalances, which can lead to physical and mental…

Read More →

Compass Community Living Celebrates National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to bring awareness and education to the public…

Read More →

How Robson Senior Living Reduced their Turnover Rate and Streamlined their Operations

With the hospitality expertise of Morrison Living powering this Compass Community Living partnership, Robson Senior…

Read More →