New grocery store aims to drop brands, prices

New grocery store aims to drop brands, prices

Ra’anana store Ehad to only stock one type of each product; plans expansion

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustration (Photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustration (Photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A new supermarket chain called Ehad — one, in Hebrew — is set to open in Ra’anana with a radical new approach: no sale prices, no membership rewards and no brands.

The goal? Cheaper groceries.

The store, slated to open this week, is looking to lower prices by teaming up with local producers and importers to stock their shelves with only one type of each product — hence the name.

“We’ll have one product for everything and no products parallel to it,” manager Iri Shachar told Army Radio. “For instance, I won’t stock one ketchup and then another regular one, but one for ten shekels and the second for nine. Instead I’ll have the one ketchup that I chose from our suppliers.”

The model, popularized by German chain Aldi, is revolutionary for Israel, which saw a wave of large protests in recent years sparked by the cost of cottage cheese and other groceries.

Georgian-Israeli billionaire Yitzchak Mirilashvili is bankrolling the new grocery chain, which hopes to open a new branch every quarter. The next store, after the Ra’anana branch, will be one in Netanya that Shachar hopes to open in March.

Shachar said he believes the partnership with smaller companies, who have a hard time getting their products into other grocery stores, will allow Ehad to offer the same goods — dairy products, snack foods, toiletries — for lower prices.

This method, he believes, will pay off for all parties involved. “I give them the stage and in return I get the best prices, which I pass on directly to the customer.”

So those seeking their favorite foods will now have to learn some new names. Osem’s Bamba, the crunchy peanut butter snack, and Bisli, the savory crisps, are instead Booli and Bugsy, respectively, and are produced by the much smaller Hatifei HaEmek. Italian Nutella is replaced by German Nutillino.

But some brands, especially those which are only available outside of Israel, will not be replaced by lesser known lookalikes. Colgate toothpaste will stay Colgate toothpaste.

Shachar also plans another change from supermarket norms. They will have no sales, not even around the holidays.

“We won’t operate in the way the rest of the chains do, lowering prices before holiday seasons and raising them right after. Our price will be steady and attractive throughout the year and your shopping cart will be 20% cheaper than a branded cart,” Shachar told the Calcalist daily newspaper.

This method, however, will mean that at times Ehad’s brandless prices will be higher than those of other, better known chains.

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