Cheese Prices to Sink With New Import Rules

Cheese production at the Tnuva Tel Yosef dairy plant in Israel. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Yellow cheese production at the Tnuva Tel Yosef dairy plant in Israel. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israelis looking to pick up a discounted package of yellow cheese in 2017 should rush out to the Osher Ad chain – because cheese will cost no more than NIS 35 per kilo there, the cheapest price for pre-packaged cheese in Israel. That was the price the chain promised it would charge customers as part of its proposal to be one of seven stores and importers chosen to import yellow cheese without import duty.

Even cheaper will be cheese purchased from appetizer counters at the Rami Levy supermarket chain, where sliced cheese will cost NIS 30 or less per kilo. Discounted cheese will also be available at the Supersol chain, as well as in packaged and sliced cheese supplied by Willifood, Netto, Simon and Tamir Products.

All those entities were chosen as the firms to be allowed to import up to 5,500 tons of yellow cheese collectively for the year 2017 without duty. Also known as “Dutch” or “Holland” cheese, it is standard lunch fare for millions of Israelis and the most popular cheese sold in Israel. To qualify, companies had to promise to sell cheese to consumers for between 20 percent and 30 percent less than current prices. The seven entities that won promised to sell the cheese at the lowest prices.

Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon said that “this year, we opened two options for cheese imports, that of pre-packaged cheese on supermarket shelves and of sliced cheese sold at appetizer counters. We hope that the competition we have unleashed will encourage a general lowering of prices for cheese sold throughout the country.”