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things that just are

Monday, December 06, 2004

73% of Israelis Keep Soup Nuts in Pantries

One of the most popular foods in Israeli households is soup nuts. An astounding 73 percent of Israeli households have the product in their kitchen cabinets, according to Osem Industries, the leading manufacturer and distributor of soup nuts.

Soup nuts, says Osem, are very popular with the young. Unilever Israel, parent company of Telma, which owns about 10% of the soup-nut market and dominates the prepared soup market says that soup nut customers behave along cultural and seasonal divides. Cultures in which soup is a regular part of the diet logically buy more soup enhancers, explained a Telma spokesperson. The biggest increase in soup-nut consumption occurs in the winter months of November to February, when Osem increases its soup-nut production by 280%, a company spokeswoman said. Osem soup nuts are a big seller in the American kosher market as well. Tracy Cross, manager of the kosher food department for a major chain in Austin, Texas, confirmed that the store stocks Osem soup nuts year round.

For American Jews, however, their association with soup nuts is undeniably linked with the Pesach holiday, a phenomenon somewhat confounded by the fact that Israel's major soup-nut producers do not even manufacture kosher-for-Pesach soup nuts. Manischewitz sells a whopping 50% of its entire soup-nut production during Pesach, said Robert Sheckman, marketing director for Manischewitz. To be more precise, the company manufactures an average of 10 million individual soup nuts throughout the year at its New Jersey plant and at least five million with matzo-meal substitutions during the Pesach high season, Sheckman said. To prepare for the holiday, Cross increases his soup-nut inventory to include Manischewitz along with the Streits and Goodmans brands.

From Kosher Today


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