August 18, 2014

Israeli Food Industry Keep Pace with the Growth Despite Hostilities

Ramat Gan … Ehud, a 31 year old store manager returned to his post as assistant store manager after spending 27 days as a reservist on the Gaza front. He was part of some 85,000 reservists who were called up to bolster the IDF during its ground incursion into Gaza. His absence meant that his boss had to step in and handle many of the activities while Ehud was gone. A chocolate factory in Sderot had experienced a direct hit, all but shutting down the factory. It will take many months to rebuild but most challenging will be to regain the business of customers. For many people in the South, the military often created frozen zones, hampering some deliveries to food stores, but thankfully there was never any real shortage.

This week, with a fragile cease fire in place, things appeared to be back on track, so much so that food industry experts are still hoping for a modest 4% growth this quarter. Israel’s robust tourist industry was another story as El Al reported record losses and hotels struggled to fill up parts of their hotel. With the Jewish holidays now only weeks away, the hoteliers are hoping for a strong season, particularly on Succos, which is such a large part of their business. Ironically, while the price of an airline ticket might have gone up, many food items actually went down to the delight of consumers. Restaurants also took a bit hit, particularly those that rely heavily on tourism. All told, say the experts, Israel’s food industry appears to have come through this latest crisis in remarkable shape.