January 26, 2015

Tu Beshvat – a Small but Growing Business for Kosher Retailers

NEW  YORK — Tu Beshvat is a Jewish holidays that may not even appear on many Jewish calendars. Yet, say retailers, it is increasingly becoming a mid-winter holiday that includes exchanging gift baskets of dried fruits, exotic fruits, and even chocolates and wines. You can even order the gift baskets on Amazon or one of the many on-line sites that offer the gift baskets.

According to the Talmud, Tu Beshvat is one of four New Year celebrations, and is considered the New Year of the Trees. This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. It is customary to eat dried and exotic fruits, including grapes, pomegranate, and dates.

At the Pomegranate supermarket in Flatbush, there is a display of some of these fruits including the fruit that is also the name of the large kosher supermarket. For many retailers, Tu Beshvat is the trigger for the busy Purim and Passover season with Purim taking place in less than a month and Passover only two months away. One retailer told Kosher Today that Tu Beshvat sales increased last year by 20%, which he attributes to a growing trend of gift giving, especially corporate.