March 24, 2014

The New Passover Economy

Going away for Passover is, of course, a luxury that not everyone can afford. It is certainly a far cry from the tedious work of preparing a home for the sedarim. And even the stay at home option is not cheap. My kosher food industry friend guessed that an average family spends upward of $3,000 for Passover and he has about 10 people over. In both cases, no one seemed to factor in clothing, but that is OK since we are all about food. Nevertheless, once you start doing the math, you definitely begin to understand the dimensions of the “Passover economy.” 

A key player in the kosher food industry was busy doing the math of just how big the Passover economy is. He was focusing on only the hospitality part of the Passover business. He estimated that there were nearly 100 facilities, including some of the largest resorts and most widely known properties that offer kosher programs. He next calculated the costs of just the wine, baked goods, matzohs, and meat that were sold to the operators of the Passover programs. He moved on to entertainment and even to the cost of transporting “all these people” that he estimated exceeded 50,000 people. “$100 million for sure,” he proclaimed. 

It might very well be that he is correct, but regardless it is quite astonishing just how much this business has developed. I have spoken to people who are heading to Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I know people who spend $75,000 - $100,000 to fly family members to a resort in Arizona.

Passover Illustration by Laura Lee Dobson