Chicago…It was for all practical purposes the first holiday season since the Covid pandemic and according to kosher food executives a year of record sales. Yakov Yarmove, Corporate Director of Ethnic Marketing and Specialty Foods at Albertsons Companies says it was “a long period of kosher feasting.” Malkie Levine of the Evergreen kosher supermarkets in Monsey and Lakewood said that “people were coming into the stores and spending money on food.” According to Mr. Yarmove, one clear result of Covid was the increased home cooking and baking, so much so that he noticed a significant spike in the sale of baking supplies. His store also partnered with kosher.com as more people were looking for recipes and meal ideas. Mrs. Levine pointed to the significant increase in the sale of prepared foods. Other store executives agreed, pointing to the much-expanded cooking sections in the nation’s Jewish newspapers and magazines.
Despite some spot shortages, the executives felt that they weathered the supply chain issues. “We have plenty of alternatives and I am certain that the customer did not feel cheated.” Several opined that people were prepared to spend money on upscale foods with one pointing to the record sales of prime cuts of glatt kosher meat. All this at a time of sharply increased prices. In Brooklyn, the manager of one store said that “we saw more customers shop than we did the last two years, and that even though so many people traveled. There was just a great deal of family reunions and entertaining.” The calendar apparently played a big role in the robust sales. Said the manager: “I saw the same shoppers on the eve of the holidays, before Shabbos and then again before the second days of Yom Tov.”
There appeared to be overall glee at the fact that shoppers who had stayed away during Covid were once again in the store and buying some of the better items. Estelle, a mother of 5, remembered that during last Sukkot her shopping consisted of on-line and delivery. “It’s been more than two years that I have felt safe shopping at the store,” she said. Most of the executives predicted that overall sales over the holidays would be up by 12%-15%.