January 25, 2010

SuperValu Food Reduction May Affect Kosher

CHICAGO, IL…It is becoming the latest attempt by supermarkets to restore their chains to pre-recession profitability. SuperValu, the nation’s fourth largest grocer, will be reducing inventory in stores by as much as 25%. The chain calls it more of a correction, eliminating repetition, particularly on sizes of various items. There was some speculation whether the reduction would have an impact on the supply of kosher foods, whose presence on supermarket shelves have increased dramatically in recent years. Yakov Yarmove of SuperValu says the inventory reduction will not affect the chain’s "A" stores but it may have some impact on the 4-8 ft sets in stores with lower sales of kosher foods. Some distributors and even retailers like Yarmove believe that “SKU rationalization,” particularly in smaller kosher sets is not necessarily a drawback. Instead of "jamming" a small set with too much variety, it would allow grocers to build a focus on the core items. Some retailers have in recent years made note of the repetition of kosher items, particularly on Passover. They say that offering the consumer “too much of a choice” simply means that other more creative and newer items never make it to the shelf. Jason, a Long Island retailer said: “Instead of three different brands of Passover mayonnaise, I’d rather feature a good new barbecue sauce.”