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March food sales in Israel hit all-time high

March 2020 was an all-time record month for food sales in Israel, which totaled NIS 4.36 billion ($1.21 b), NIS 1.2 billion ($0.34 b) more than in March 2019, according to figures from StoreNext obtained by “Globes”.

Sales of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), including toiletries and cleaning products, totaled the huge sum of NIS 5.4 billion ($1.5 b) in March this year, which compares with FMCG sales of NIS 47.3 billion ($13.18 b) for the whole of 2019. In other words, FMCG sales in March 2020 alone were about one ninth of sales of all of last year.

The figures reflect the situation in which Israelis spent the Passover festival in lockdown, with no overseas trips, so hotel stays, and with restaurants and bars shut. StoreNext’s figures do not include sales channels that have been gaining momentum recently, such as online supermarkets and direct sales by farmers.

In 2020 as in 2019, the Passover holiday fell in April, but this year it was near the beginning of the month, so that people were making Passover purchases towards the end of March.

Food and beverage purchases in March amounted to over NIS 470 ($130.93) per person in Israel. Purchases for the first quarter were up 14.3% at NIS 10.6 billion ($2.95 b).

Tnuva had sales of NIS 584 million ($162.69 m) in March, up 30% on March 2019. Tnuva’s first quarter sales were up 10.2%. Strauss Israel saw similar growth in March sales, of 31%, to NIS 509 million ($141.79). Strauss’s first quarter sales were up 14.4%. Osem, which produces pasta and other dry goods that the Israeli public has been purchasing in large quantities lately, posted even higher growth in March, with sales up 41% in comparison with March 2019, at NIS 395 million ($110.04 m).

Match sales by the Central Bottling Company (Coca-Coca Israel) were up nearly 21% in comparison with March 2019, at NIS 243 million ($67.69 m).

Neto recorded the most impressive growth in March, according to StoreNext. Excluding fresh fish and meat, Neto’s sales were up 52% at NIS 179 million ($49.86 m), making it the fifth largest food supplier in the Israeli market. Including fresh fish and meat sales of NIS 93 million, Neto’s March sales were up 55%, at NIS 272 million ($75.77 m), giving it a market share according to StoreNext of 6.1%, which compares with 5.6% for The Central Bottling Company.

Unilever’s sales for March were up 26.4% at NIS 108 million ($30.09 m).

Food importers Diplomat and Schestowitz saw March sales up 37% and 48% respectively.

Published by Globes, Israel business news