CHICAGO — Howard I. Bernstein is on a crusade to promote Israeli products in the US, including the growing number of kosher food products. He carefully monitors the BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Website. For example, he gloats at even a modest increase of clicks on the site (4140 in November compared to 3495 in October). He aggressively urges people “to buy Israeli products, and to suggest use of BIG to locate them in local stores and online sellers.” He pushes
Jewish and Israel-oriented organizations (in the Chicago area) that announce a banquet, to serve only Israeli wines. Suzanne Weilgus, Rochelle Zupnik, and Gloria Gordon of ACHI (Americans Communities Helping Israel - http://www.achi613.org/) are also working on a robust website to promote Israeli foods. They are looking to feature online shopping sites for Israeli products, Israeli vendors and manufacturers willing to provide product coupons for downloading.
Of late, Mr. Bernstein has been sharing professional advice with the Israelis from experts on how to succeed in the American market. Andy Landsman of A & L Foods in Baltimore suggests that “for an Israeli company to find success in marketing products in the United States, the company will have to ‘Americanize’ its products.” Amongst his other suggestions are developing a strong distribution network before entering the marketplace, establishing a strong American support team for sales and marketing and have your products look American. Another consultant warns: “Don’t assume that everyone whom visited in Israel remembers the food products he saw there (less than 20% of American Jews have visited in Israel).”