The perennial Pesach battle between supermarkets and kosher stores has been renewed with vigour.
Significant reductions offered by Tesco and other market leaders have forced kosher stores to “buy in bulk”, according to Joseph Cohen, owner of Hendon shop B Kosher.
“I have to buy in bulk so I can compete with Tesco. I lose a lot of items that go out of date and also have to pay for more things like storage — [big supermarket chains] are very hard to fight but we’re managing, as long as we have the support of the community.”
Mr Cohen, who opened the store 18 years ago, claims to undercut Tesco — “and I have 5,000 more items than them. We have the best range of wine, matzah and chocolate.”
B Kosher customer Moishe Mayer said he “preferred to buy from communal shops because it’s good to keep things in the Jewish community. There’s value for money, good service and good parking so it’s an all-rounder.” B Kosher will open an Edgware branch after Pesach.
A spokesman for Golders Green’s Kosher Kingdom said it offered a bespoke kashrut service a major supermarket could not match. “Someone is always available to answer kosher queries and we keep the kitniot [products Sephardim are able to eat over Pesach] separate. We also have a lot of unique products from around the globe.”
A Sainsbury’s representative noted that “Pesach is an important holiday for our Jewish customers and we hope that the extensive range of kosher-for- Passover products we have available in our stores this year helps to make shopping easier”.
However, Pesach shoppers have complained that prices remain too high in tough economic times. “Basic things like matzah meal and soup are much more [expensive] than last year,” one said.
But one Brighton resident said those with access to Passover produce should “think yourselves lucky. Asda here stock a small number of kosher items.The chance of them getting kosher-for-Pesach matzah is always slim.”