SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Jean-Charles Naouri, 63, does not owe his success to his pioneering enterprises in kosher in France. The Frenchman, born in rural Algeria, became a leading supplier of kosher with his Kinneret distribution and then in retail with his chain of Cash Cacher Naouri, although he has dabbled in politics and in investment banking. It was through the investment bank Euris that he gained control of some of France’s leading supermarket chains.
Mr. Naouri is set to gain not only control of Casino, one of Europe’s most successful supermarket chains, but also the mega Pão de Açúcar with its 25 stores all over Brazil. Naouri’s Casino is introducing many European foods, especially from France. The foods include milk products, meats, confeiture, fish products, bakery, pasta, paste, canned goods, sauces and drinks, some of them kosher.
Some of the Jewish communities are in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Manaus, Belem, Recife, Salvador, Brasilia, Belo-Horizonte, Curitiba, Florianopolis and Porto-Alegre. Rabbis and Jewish leaders are hoping that Naouri can be persuaded to significantly upgrade his kosher offerings. They also believe that Naouri’s new status may be an opportunity for kosher producers in the US and Israel. Some of the Casino stores already have some imported kosher products from Israel and the US, as well as Naouri’s native France.
Casino has been in Brazil since 1999 through its subsidiary, Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), which has a network of 1,571 stores.