Israel Pesach Prices Somewhat Lower – But Not Very, Survey Shows

Piles of carrots are seen at a Jerusalem chessed food distribution center before Pesach, April 3, 2012. Photo by Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.
Piles of carrots are seen at a Yerushalayim chessed food distribution center before Pesach, in 2012. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

How much will Israelis spend on their Pesach expenditures this year? The final answer will not be known for at least three weeks – when the chag concludes – but things are not going to be as cheap as many expect, a survey by Army Radio said.

Beginning Motzoei Shabbos, the two biggest shopping weeks in Israel have gotten underway, with shopping – not just for food, but for clothing, appliances, household goods, and of course wine – reaching a crescendo on the day before Erev Pesach. The period represents among the highest expenditures of Israeli households, and the newspapers and airwaves are full of “deals” that the various retailers are offering.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon slashed import duties on a long list of grocery products, produce, meat, and other items that will grace the Seder tables of millions around the country. The intention was to reduce the cost of these items for Pesach, making the chag more affordable for many families that have a hard time making ends meet during “normal” times, much less during a Yom Tov season.

As part of that import duty slash, the Treasury issued a recommended retail price list to retailers – not as a price control mechanism, but as a guide, based on the amount that the duties were cut. The Army Radio survey showed that results were mixed, at best.

For example, carrots were available at some retailers for NIS 1.90/kilo, while the recommended price was between NIS 3 and 4/kilo. Olive oil, which should range between NIS 35 and 28 per liter, was as low as NIS 27 in some stores, while most were running specials of NIS 30 per liter.

For some cuts of meat, however, things were not as cheap as the Treasury recommended. “Falsche fillet” (also known as shoulder blade), a popular cut, should sell for NIS 63 per kilo in many stores, while the lower end of the recommended prices for the cut was NIS 55.

With that, Treasury officials said that they expected the chains to discount more actively this week in order to bring in more customers, the vast majority of whom will spend many hundreds of shekels not only on the “bargains,” but on the processed products, candy, snacks, cakes, and other items that the stores make their “big money” on.