Supermarkets Battle Over Israeli Matzo: Loss Leader Takes Center Stage for Passover Sales
By Paul Berger
Published March 30, 2012, issue of April 06, 2012.
Psst! That 5-pound bundle of Streit’s matzo you just bought for $8.99 probably cost the store about $14.99. Your friendly neighborhood supermarket manager was willing to take the $6 hit just to lure you in so you’ll stock up on Manischewitz gefilte fish and Gefen dish detergent.
For years, supermarkets have treated Passover matzo as a loss leader — a product sold at a steep markdown to lure Jewish shoppers and their expensive Seder shopping lists. In highly competitive markets such as the New York tristate area, some stores are literally giving it away.
In recent weeks, shoppers at Waldbaum’s supermarket, in the Long Island town of Great Neck, N.Y., could choose between a $3 coupon for a bundle of heavily discounted American matzo, or a free bundle of Israeli matzo with every $25 purchase.
Such fierce competition is beginning to hurt American producers.