Brooklyn…Less than one month since Quality Foods was sold to Aaron Greenfield, its iconic founder and owner Moshe Semel passed away. Mr. Semel was a figure larger than life in the kosher food industry. For hundreds of visitors to the annual Kosherfest, a chat with Mr. Semel was obligatory. Mr. Semel knew the kosher food industry better than most. One veteran told Kosher Today: “He had a nose for what sells, and he was seldom wrong. He single handedly made brands successful.”
Semel’s kosher grocery stores in Boro Park and the Catskills that he founded with his late brother came well before his expansion into distribution nearly 45 years ago. Quality, in the past few years, was run by three generations including Semel’s daughter Gitel Liebler and the children of Semel’s late partner Eli Soffer. In 2016, Quality hosted a major introduction of its rebranding. On display were some of the brands that Quality either manufactured or distributed, including Bodek (smoothies), Aufschnitt (turkey jerky), Dyna-Sea (sushi), Dipz, Jack’s Gourmet (assorted creative meats), Unger’s (French Fries), Mendel’s (BBQ meats), Noam Gourmet (gefilte fish) and many other well-known brands. The common denominator was that these were new and trendy kosher products that Quality helped succeed in the kosher food market. Sources told Kosher Today in its July 17th report that the sale of Semel’s was finalized on June 30th and that the company was undergoing major changes including a potential move of its warehouse from Brooklyn to a location in New Jersey. Quality was founded by the Semel family. Moshe Semel, who was one of a handful of remaining family-owned kosher food distributors, became an iconic figure. For the kosher food industry, the passing of Moshe Semel was the end of an era. He will be sorely missed!