Israelis have begun eating healthier in recent years, and the trend is showing up in supermarket sales. In the first half of the year, food sales at markets fell 1.2 percent overall during the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, but the biggest drop was in an assortment of processed foods. Among the big losers: Hot dogs, sales of which fell 25 percent since a year ago, as well as sandwich meats (salami, bologna), which were down 17 percent over the same period, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Other notable reductions were in cuts of beef for grilling, which was down 11 percent this year over sales in the January-June period last year. Sugar, too, lost ground, with 12 percent less of the white stuff sold. With the drop in sales of processed meats, there is less of a need for condiments – so ketchup sales, too, fell by 9 percent this year compared to last. The slowdown in processed meat sales, economists said, had dealt a major blow to companies in the industry – especially to processed food giant Zoglobek, which saw sales shrink 23 percent during the first half of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.
By comparison, foods that registered an increase over the previous year included soft cheeses (5 percent, 9 percent and cream cheese), hard cheeses, raw tahini (tehina) and canned tuna.
Despite the budding healthful eating habits, Israelis have still not sworn off junk food altogether. Chocolate sales were up this year 2.6 percent over the level in the first half of 2015, and sales of sweet snacks rose by 4 percent. Perhaps most troublesome: soft drink sales continued to rise, increasing 9 percent this year over last.