January 9, 2017

Is Duplication Creating a Price War in Kosher?

New York - Alexander Rappaport, the founder and head of the kosher soup kitchens Masbia, noticed what appeared to be a price war in the kosher pastry category. He posted a photo on his Facebook page of identical packages of Mini-Brownie Blast by Reisman’s and Stern’s priced at $3.99, albeit, he points out, that Reisman’s added 3 “bonus” ounces and was previously priced at $4.99. Retailers say that the price war in the kosher pastry category is but one of many throughout their store that extends to dairy and even dry goods. Some of the retailers reached by Kosher Today lamented that there was a great deal of duplication in kosher and that in fact many of the kosher brands rush to add items just to compete with other brands. “They want to make sure that they have the full line; it is probably part of their branding,” said a Brooklyn retailer. The duplication is especially problematic for smaller stores that do not have the shelf space to carry several brands of one item. “As much as I would like to carry three or four ketchup brands besides Heinz and Hunt’s, I simply do not have the room,” he added. Some of the retailers said that competing brands often make a valiant attempt to hold the line on their pricing but as they lose market share they have no choice but to lower prices. They say that often discounts are even assigned to certain locations just to weaken a competitor. Kosher food experts predict that these price wars are likely to intensify as more duplication items appear on grocery shelves.