May 23, 2016

Israeli Wine and Matzo Continue Dramatic Increases during Passover

Tel Aviv…Israel exports about $250 million in food and beverage to the US; yet officials in Israel closely watch the sales of wine and matzoh. Israelhas invested significantly into its wine industry in recent years and the results have been nothing short of stellar. It invests nearly NIS 4 million ($1 million) into helping some of the 160 family-owned and boutique wineries prepare for export. In 2015, Israel exported 36.5 million of wines with some 67% or close to $25 million to the USA and Canada. Royal Wines (Kedem) is Israel’s largest importer of Israeli wines. Nathan Herzog estimates that the company imports and sells nearly 75% of the Israeli wines, including some of Israel’s leading brands. Israel’s investment into its wineries has certainly paid off as Israeli wines have won many awards in international competitions. In addition to the US, Israel exports about 25% to Europe, including $3 million to France, and $1.7 million to countries like the UK, Germany, and Belgium.

Israelis have also watched Matzoh sales carefully hoping to cut into the stranglehold of US manufacturers like Manischewitz and Streit’s. Its ability to produce the Matzoh at a lower cost than the Americans has given the Israeli somewhat of an advantage and has the Americans crying foul, arguing that the competition was not on a level playing field. But margins for Matzoh are often compromised in part because Matzoh is often a loss leaders to entice shoppers to buy their large Passover orders at a given location. In 2015, Israel exported some $7 million of Matzoh to the US, with an expectation that when the final numbers are in for 2016, they will be at least $1.5 million better. Israel fares even better in Europe where it faces competition from local producers and still sold $5 million of Matzoh in 2015.