May 9, 2016

Changes in Retail Keep Kosher Distributors on Toes

New York - This past year saw many changes in the retail grocery business in the US, which according to kosher distributors also meant significant adjustments for kosher. Many distributors said that one change that they had to adjust to was dealing with new personnel in many locations. After dealing with specific kosher buyers for years, they suddenly had to establish relationships with new kosher managers, some of whom had extensive portfolios with kosher being just one of many. Said one distributor: “After you spend many years educating a kosher buyer, you suddenly have to start from scratch.” He particularly felt that “Passover was no time for on-job-training.” The changes in retail in some cases were for the better as some stores came under chains that were far more adept at handling kosher. Examples of significant changes in retail included the acquisition of Safeway by Albertson’s and Stop and Shop’s and Acme’s acquiring closed A&P, Waldbaum’s and Pathmark stores. Shoprite too acquired a few of those stores, which said one retailer is “a positive” since Shoprite is a leader in kosher. Some uncertainty continued with Fairway which recently declaring bankruptcy, attributed by many to the chain’s having lost ground to Whole Foods. It has significantly stepping up its kosher game, especially as it worked out an arrangement with Kayco (Kedem).