October 6, 2021

Historic Holiday Season with Record Sales Marred by Supply Chain Issues

Chicago…The just concluded holiday season that began in early September with Rosh Hashanah and ended with Simchat Torah on September 29th saw record sales of kosher food in many areas. In a survey of kosher independent stores, most reported record sales especially since many people were home this year and stocked their kitchens well beyond a traditional holiday period. The stores found that keeping their shelves stocked was their biggest challenge. “Even with proper forecasting and computer-generated quantities, the added burden of simply getting goods was still a tremendous task,” said Howie Klagsbrun of the Gourmet Glatt chain of independent kosher stores. Many companies, including some of the largest global brands such as Coca Cola are still feeling the effects of Covid, as raw materials are in very short supply. Still looming are shortages of actual ingredients, bottles, containers, caps, labels, shipping cartons and more.

Most of the stores in heavily populated Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods said that a significant part of their increased sales was due to the continued growth of the community. One store manager said that “inflation was also a factor in the higher sales numbers, as well as the fact that most people were just home because of the Covid travel restrictions to Israel.” Some stores dealt with shortages in meat which was reflected in sharply higher prices. For Jewel-Osco, it was an opportunity to strengthen existing strong ties with the community. According to Yakov Yarmove, Corporate Director of Ethnic Marketing and Specialty Foods at Albertsons Companies, Jewel-Osco co-hosted a three-part event. The event included a culinary event with cookbook author Naomi Nachman and entertainment by Uncle Moishy, a favorite children’s performer.