Consumer council finds massive price differences in Passover products

With large price gaps between supermarkets for matzah and Passover items such as potato starch, consumers advised to compare prices, which, overall, are similar to last year’s

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

A woman shops for matzah at a supermarket in Jerusalem on March 31, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
A woman shops for matzah at a supermarket in Jerusalem on March 31, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

With less than a week to go until the eve of Passover on Wednesday, April 8, the Israel Consumer Council reported Thursday on gaps between various stores of up to 42 percent in the prices of matzah, the traditional unleavened bread, and of more than 110% for potato starch.

The gaps, however, were similar to those recorded last year.

A Tuesday survey of the prices of six popular kinds of matzah in 38 retail chains and food stores countrywide revealed that Machsanei HaShuk was charging NIS 120 for a kilogram of Birkat Hapesach handmade shmurah matzah (the most strictly kosher) while Fresh Market was charging just NIS 69.99.

Matzot Hagadah Aviv (1 kilogram) were going for NIS 14.9 at Super Alonit and Salah Dabah, as against Reshet Bee’s NIS 10.

And Super Alonit was selling 2.5 kg of Matzot Rishon 5 for NIS 35, while Machsanei HaShuk was promoting it for NIS 23.5.

A large gap was recorded for 2.5 kg of Hamishia Matzot Aviv matzo, with Super Alonit selling for NIS 33.6 and Rami Levy King Store coming in at NIS 24.90.

Workers prepare matzah, the unleavened bread eaten during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover, at the Aviv Matzah plant in Bnei Brak on April 14, 2019. (Courtesy Flash 90)

The same was true for Matzot Yerushalayim (2.5 kg), with Zol VeBeGadol marketing it for NIS 29.8 and Hetzi Hinam, Fresh Market, and Shuk Mehadrin selling it for NIS 24.90.

For Carmel wholegrain matzahs, the price difference was only 7.2%. Osher Ad was selling it for NIS 29.90 and Rami Levi for two shekels less.

The council also surveyed the prices of matzah meal, cornflour and potato starch, all commonly used in Passover cooking and baking in place of leavening agents that rise.

Here, the biggest gap was recorded for 500 gram packs of Mia potato starch with Coop Shop charging NIS 7.1 and Yesh Hesed asking NIS 3.9.

Mia cornflour (440 grams) was selling for NIS 7.1 at Coop Shop and NIS 3.9 at Hetzi Hinam.

Illustrative: An Israeli family seen during the Passover seder on April 3, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Willy Food instant cornflour (500 gram) was selling for NIS 7.95 at Victory, but only NIS 4.9 at Alonit at kibbutzim and moshavim.

Significant differences were also noted for the prices of Willy Food gluten-free cornflour (NIS 10.5 for 1 kg at Maayan 2000 and NIS 7.3 at Victory), Matzot Rishon matzah meal (cheapest at Yochananof), and premium potato flour (lowest price NIS 4.9 for 500 gram at Alonit). Yehuda Matza matzah meal was going for NIS 6.96 at Super Barkat, compared with NIS 5.898 at Rami Levy.

Ofer Marom, CEO of the Israel Consumer Council, urged consumers to check prices closely, while saying he was pleased that despite the current economic situation, this year’s prices were similar to last year’s.

read more: