June 13, 2011

IsraelÕs Exported Foods Often Cheaper Overseas than in Israel

Tel Aviv…Globes, the prestigious business publication, recently blew the whistle on Israel’s soaring food prices, comparing pricing in Israel’s supermarkets to similar products in Europe. The report prompted Knesset Economic Committee chairman Carmel Shama to announce plans to  convene his  committee to discuss the issue of rapidly rising food prices in Israel. Several food officials in Israel told Kosher Today that increases were particularly “noticeable” during the Passover season, even as many food officials made pronouncements that they would not raise prices. Ironically, companies like Osem were forced to raise prices in April in response to rising commodity prices but could not do so in the US because they were already locked in with earlier pricing. Kosher officials in the US said that the fact that Passover orders are made as much as six months in advance was “the saving grace” for US kosher consumers during Passover. Some Israeli companies have since raised prices in the US, report distributors and retailers. But in Israel, reports Globes, the price increases continue. It revealed that  Strauss Ice Cream Ltd., owned by Unilever, is raising the prices of its products by an average of 2.4%, over and above a 3.5% increase in November 2010. Some officials familiar with both the US and Israeli kosher food markets said that some Israeli foods “are less expensive here, especially those that compete with US products.”