March 16, 2009

Passover 2009 in Full Gear as Retailers Hope for Strong Year

New York…The recession not withstanding, retailers around the country opened their Passover aisles this week with a great deal of fanfare and expectations of strong sales. Most retailers have launched their advertising campaigns, offering many specials to “keep prices at bay.” New York’s Assemblyman Dov Hikind issued a special appeal to retailers to keep prices down. In Cincinnati, the Bigg’s supermarket, part of SuperValu, initiated a special program where customers can purchase pre-packaged bags of Manischewitz products and place them in a bin in the front of the store to be donated to the Jewish Family Service to distribute to the needy. The program, according to Yakov M. Yarmove of SuperValu, is designed to help those affected by the recession. Pricing was also the focus of the large Pathmark store in Monsey, NY which kicked off the Passover season with a well attended Kosher Fair. Kosher vendors supported the event with aisles of demos, and every few minutes a gift basket was given away to a customer via raffle. At the magnificent Pomegranate in Brooklyn, its state-of-the-art kitchen was already producing rare cuts of meats, dips, and salads, all kosher for Passover as well as a full complement of groceries, dairy and frozen. Many Chabad centers around the country are using the pre-holiday season to educate Jews about kashrus. A Hy-Vee store in Davenport, Iowa, hosted "A Day of Kosher Awareness" in tandem with Chabad Lubavitch of the Quad Cities.

Last year’s Tam Tam shortages is all but a memory as the Manischewitz Company produced
Passover Tams in two forms. The regular Tam Tams in different flavors are small egg matzah crackers coated with different flavorings (marked as “Matzah Ashirah”) and the Whole Grain Tams which are regular matzah crackers coated with different flavorings (and are not “Matzah Ashirah”. Supermarkets are showcasing many of the 400 new items produced for Passover, including many new sauces, and flavored seltzers. Some retailers expect to sell more Shmurah Matzoh, both the hand-made and machine versions. Matzoh brands from Israel including Aviv, Osem, Yehuda and Rishon are expected to do well. The Orthodox Union, which certifies the Israeli brands, has also added the Yanovsky brand from Argentina. Manischewitz will continue to sell OU-P machine shmurah matzah under both the Manischewitz and Goodman’s labels. In addition, OU-P hand shmurah matzah will be available from Gefen, Tiferes and Rokeach. Kedem will be selling, as they did last year, Savion matzah sticks.

Coca Cola will again be available with an OU-P for Pesach as will many Pepsi Cola products with a Kof-K certification (in the New York area). In addition to New York, Coke will be available in Boston, Baltimore-Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia. Most of the large kashrus organizations have issued their 2009 Passover Directories and also created special websites, as the OU has done.