May 2, 2011

Healthier Passover Foods Fuels Sales Growth

New York… Passover 2011 will go down as a year of many firsts, ranging from several new additions to the retail mix to the important role health played in the product mix. According to several hand-made (shmurah) bakeries, there was a noticeable increase in the sale of whole wheat matzohs. Many of the bakeries said that five years ago, whole wheat matzoh sales were at 10% - 15% of overall matzoh sales but were 20% - 25% of sales this year. Whole wheat is said to have many benefits, including a significant decrease in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Regular wholegrain consumption lowers LDL and triglyceride levels, which contributes to an overall 26% reduction in coronary heart disease risk factors. In addition, wholegrain consumption is inversely related to hypertension, diabetes, and obesity when compared to refined grains, all of which are negative indicators in total cardiovascular health. Some stores reported stronger sales of Kedem’s “Lite” Grape Juice with its sharply lower sugar content. The healthier basket of 2011 included many sugar-free items as well as many gluten-free items, including Yehuda Matzohs. In fact, in several stores, there were entire sections devoted to gluten-free items. One retailer said that many of his customers seemed to make an effort to avoid the “automatic weight gain” over the 8-day holiday. “I sold more romaine lettuce, not only for the seder, but for salads as well as skinless chickens,” he said.


Overall Passover sales seemed to have increased by at least 8% - 10%. In its annual survey of retailers and distributors, KosherToday learned that most were still tabulating the results but were confident that they had least recovered to pre-recession levels. Several were not sure, indicating that their middle-class buyers were still reeling from the economic downturn and were much “more conservative in their buying for the holiday.” But in more affluent neighborhoods, the recession seemed all but a distant memory.