Strauss boycott - Tomer Appelbaum  - February 2012
Dear Israel movement members at Strauss headquarters yesterday. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
Text size

The Yisrael Yekara Li ("Dear Israel") movement has called for an immediate boycott of Strauss food products after an unfruitful meeting with Strauss Group chairwoman Ofra Strauss yesterday.

Consumers have risen up against the food manufacturer in the past week after a consumer uploaded a photo to Facebook showing that the company's Pesek Zman candy bars cost more than twice as much in Israel as they do in New Jersey, despite the expenses involved in export and shipping to the United States.

A group of mothers from the Dear Israel movement, which is fighting the high cost of living in Israel, met with Ofra Strauss yesterday in the company's Petah Tikva headquarters for what they called an unproductive session.

"Ofra told us nothing new... Strauss tried to present her side and cynically use her worries for their 6,000 workers. But we are not willing to accept those excuses," said Iris Keren Levy, one of the mothers who met with Strauss. "We want to hear more than fancy talk or sales. [We want] broad price cuts," she added.

The Dear Israel movement promised a much broader and more effective boycott than the one against dairy giant Tnuva during last summer's social protests. "We think the response will be big, even bigger than for Tnuva. The public today is much more aware, much angrier, much more boiling over and most of all, much more demanding of what it deserves," said Patricia Sivilia, another of the mothers.

A demonstration planned in front of Strauss' home for yesterday evening has been postponed until next Thursday. Dear Israel realized that many more than the planned 50 people were coming to protest high prices, and the movement did not have the required police permit for such a large demonstration.

On Monday the four mothers had a 15-minute meeting with Strauss' director of communications, Osnat Golan. Ofra Strauss was overseas at the time but returned that evening for an emergency meeting with management.

The timing of the boycott could cost Straus dearly. The Purim holiday is in less than two weeks and Strauss' chocolate candy sales usually triple in the week before the holiday. Last year's figures showed NIS 11 million in sales for the week - a 50% market share - compared to NIS 3.5 million for an average week.