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Feb 19, 2012

From Cottage Cheese To Chocolate Bars

Strauss-Elite is under heavy fire right now.

An alert Israeli consumer currently living in the United States noticed on the shelves of Shop-Rite (and he then found it comparable in other stores) that some chocolate bars made by Strauss-Elite, specifically Pesek Zman, Twist and Taami, were selling for 69 cents or less. That translates, at the current exchange rates to 2.5 NIS per chocolate bar. The same chocolate bars in Israel cost more than 6 NIS each.

As a result, a new consumer boycott has been formed, this time against Strauss-Elite.

Strauss is trying to deflect blame, saying the supermarkets set their own prices. They claim the price they sell it at to the supermarkets, before discounts, is 3.5 NIS per unit. They are intimating that the high price is the fault of the individual vendors who overcharge.

It seems to me to be a poor excuse, as the 3.5 NIS they charge the retailers is still significantly higher than the 2.5 NIS the retailers abroad are charging the consumer!

Another part of the response by Strauss was to say that in general Israel is an expensive place to live and prices in Israel are much higher than in many other places on many items.

And that, my friends, is exactly what is being protested. When an item is imported it might make sense for the item to be a bit more expensive. When the item is made locally and is still double the price over the same item abroad, that high costs of production and living are not such a great excuse. The lack of competition, the markets controlled by just a few major players, has led to the high prices.

In the summer we had a cottage cheese protest, and now we are about to have a chocolate bar protest, starting March 1, unless Strauss lowers their prices across the board.


  1. Not sure when that person noticed those prices at Shoprite, but pre-Purim, all the Israeli chocolate bars are on sale in Brooklyn.

  2. For years friends have told me that instead of buying their kids candy in Israel when they come to visit, they buy it for cheaper at their local candy kosher/candy store and tell their kids they brought it back from their trip...Israeli consumers can't really boycott the high prices because we have to buy something, and cottage cheese and pretzels and Cheerios are all luxury items, what are we to do, eat bread and leben all day?

  3. Stop the ridiculous monopolies in Israel and all prices will fall.
    These excuses by Straus and other companies are worthless.

  4. Why just chocolate? Stop buying any Strauss products!

  5. Last year after the cottage cheese protests started, the whole thing was HIJACKED by Dafni Leif and the Histradrut and the TOPIC was changed to 'why are apartments in central Tel Aviv not cheaper.' The "solution" was, of course, to raise our taxes. The REAL problem of why large company monopolists rip off Israelis was TAKEN OFF of the agenda during the summer of 2011 by Ynet and their ilk (gee, I wonder who paid for that).

  6. Another part of the response by Strauss was to say that in general Israel is an expensive place to live and prices in Israel are much higher than in many other places on many items.

    Brilliant move. They set high prices, and their defense is that prices are high.

  7. The prices photographed at Shoprite were regular prices not sale prices.

    Some of you might remember a few years ago local Carmit candies brought English Cadbury to Israel and spent a huge amount on advertising and penetration costs to the large chains. They failed miserably because Elite used a wide variety of tactics to block them, among other things, threatened stores with a boycott if they introduced Cadbury merchandise and surely, Cadbury disappeared. The Cadbury tv ad campaigns were unavoidable and well liked, but when I went to Hezi Hinam for instance and asked for Cadbury, they kept giving me some excuse like, we haven't received stock yet. Elite CEO was found guilty, I think their CEO got a slap on the wrist and some ridiculous fine of 100 000NIS.

    I guess Strauss Elite deserves this now.


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