April 14, 2015

Passover 2015 Ends in Record Kosher Food Sales

NEW YORK - For the second year in a row, sales of kosher for Passover foods soared to new heights, perhaps increasing on average by 12% - 15%. Retailers say that matzoh sales were at record levels with all categories gaining, including Israeli matzoh which in 2014 declined by 11%. This year, say the distributors and retailers, both domestically produced matzoh and the Israeli matzoh saw sales increases. “We could have moved quite a bit more of Yehuda not just in New York Metro and that's already on top of numbers that exceeded last years,” said Harold Weiss of the Kedem Group that distributes the Israeli matzoh. Sources told Kosher Today that there were spot shortages of matzoh, particularly the hand-made shmurah version. At Evergreen in Monsey, the store restocked the Shmurah during Chol Hamoed (interim days of Passover). In fact, what may have been the biggest surprise was just how much shmurah is spreading beyond the traditional market of Orthodox Jews, accounting for 30% of the estimated $90 million matzoh market. In a brief survey of several stores, spot shortages were reported for mayonnaise, matzoh meal, and gefilte fish but not enough to be considered a trend. “Shortages are often the fault of planning by store managers or by unexpected demand,” one distributor told Kosher Today. One trend that continues to pick up steam is the sale of new kosher for Passover items, this year estimated at over 300 with most supermarkets carrying 10-50 of the new items. Another big story in the early analysis this post Passover is the growth of foodservice supplying more than 125 Passover programs nationwide. Foodservice climbed by as much as 15% as the $140 million Passover hotel business was virtually completely sold out. Passover remains the most lucrative time of the year for kosher. As many as 80% of American Jews participate in at least one Seder, according to Jewish population studies, which accounts for the fact that Passover represents nearly 40% of year-round kosher food sales.