July 9, 2012

Israeli Supermarkets Go for the Cheese

JERUSALEM -- Supermarket private labels are trying to take a bite out of the hard cheese market dominated by Tnuva.  The Marker Business supplement is reporting that the Alon Group's Mega supermarket chain is launching prepackaged Gouda under their private label.  Mega says prices will be lower than those of Tnuva and other leading brands. Mega plans to expand to other more sophisticated cheeses as well – feta, Emmental and Havarti. 

Brand for You, owner of the Hamutag label is also launching a line of hard cheeses. Both companies are purchasing their kosher hard cheeses from the Lithuanian dairies AB Rokiskio which are imported to Israel by Willi Food. 

Haaretz reports that the size of the dairy market in Israel was estimated last year at $2 billion). Yellow cheese sales represent over ten percent of sales. Israeli cheese consumption is significantly higher than those of kosher consumers in the US and on par with several key European markets.

Tnuva was the main target of a consumer boycott that forced the large dairy conglomerate to reduce prices. Speaking of prices, MK Amir Peretz's has introduced a bill requiring supermarket to charge the same prices for products in all of their branches. The Labor MK explained that he proposed the bill to stop the gaps in prices of the same product in different branches of a store throughout the country.