Osem Scrambles to Fill Unilever Vacuum

YERUSHALAYIM -
Aerial view of Nestlé’s corporate headquarters building in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. (Nestlé)
Aerial view of Nestlé’s corporate headquarters building in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. (Nestlé)

Osem is rushing to import its own breakfast cereals into Israel to take advantage of the sales implosion of Unilever after revelations of salmonella traces in its cornflakes, Globes reported on Tuesday.

Osem Investments, controlled by Nestlé, plans to fill the spaces left on supermarket shelves by Unilever with a cornflake product called GoFree, and another cornflake item, both of which resemble the troubled brand.

Until now, Osem did not attempt to import the products due to Unilever-Telma’s unassailably strong market position. But the picture has changed dramatically as consumer confidence in Unilever has plunged, and the new products should be in Israel within the coming weeks.

Unilever has not been knocked out entirely, but it’s highly vulnerable to competition.

“Unilever still has a 35 percent market share,” one retailer said on Tuesday. “They are still buying it, but it’s not what it was. They are far from the market shares they had, and it appears that things are going at a snail’s pace.”

Another retailer told Globes, “Osem has crossed the 50 percent sales line.” Previously, it claimed only 25 percent of market share.