May 3, 2018

Israel’s Rapidly Growing Food Industry, Most of it Kosher, Includes Many Foreign Interests

Tel Aviv…Israel’s food industry of $15 - $19 billion (depending on the source) includes many foreign owners, such as Nestle, PepsiCo, and Bright Food (China). This has led to concern by some Israelis that “too much” may be in the hands of foreign interests. In recent years, China's Bright Food Group bought a controlling stake of Israeli dairy conglomerate Tnuva. The deal gave the Chinese state-owned company a 56 percent stake in Tnuva, one of Israel’s largest food companies. More than 75% of Israeli foods are kosher as most Israelis continue to observe kashrut. Most large supermarkets will only carry goods that are kosher certified by either the Chief Rabbinate or the local regional rabbinate. Goods imported from abroad with certifications by local rabbis are typically endorsed by the Chief Rabbinate or local rabbinical councils. Concerned of being overwhelmed by foreign investments, some nations have put a cap on ownership percentages but in most free market countries there are no restrictions. Osem is owned 100% by European based Nestles. Several Israeli companies own slices of companies abroad but not on the scale of foreign ownership of Israeli companies.