January 26, 2015

Why Will This Passover be Different from all Other Passovers?

NEW YORK — Preparations for the upcoming Passover holiday (eve of April 3 – 11) are in high gear. The kosher food industry is hoping for a very successful season for a variety of reasons. The number one consideration is always the calendar and this year Passover falls in early April which is “early” but manageable, say the kosher purveyors. The fact that Passover takes place over a weekend means that there will be four mid-week days – Chol Hamoed – and lots of travel.

Many purveyors, particularly those in the Passover snack business, are taking the calendar into account as they are shipping more snack food than they normally do. There may not be as many new products this year as in 2014 but, judging from the items that were on display at Kosherfest, there still may be as many as 200 new items (Kosher Today will publish its special edition of new products in its next issue on February 9th).

Sales of shmurah matzoh are expected to rise partially due to demographics and the fact that many stores who previously carried only machine matzoh are now stocking shmurah matzos. Israeli manufactured matzoh which slumped last year are expected to rebound somewhat but it is not clear by how much. The cost of meat will be significantly higher this Passover than it was last year, a reflection of the steadily increasing beef and lamb prices. One distributor says that he will be adding approximately 15 new stops this year, some featuring Passover products for the very first time. Passover foods will also be appearing in more club stores like Costco.

Passover remains the most widely celebrated holiday on the Jewish calendar. Studies show that as many as 70% of America’s 5.2 million Jews (other studies put the number at 6 million) participate in at least one of the two Passover Seders. It is still believed to account for nearly 40% of annual kosher food sales.