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Problems on Tnuva's Alon Tavor production line have caused a serious shortage of cottage cheese and the yogurt-cottage cheese mix, Yoga, at small grocery stores over the past six weeks.

Tnuva recently transfered the manufacturing of its 3 percent and 5 percent cottage cheese products to its new Alon Tavor plant, and the move apparently damaged the production line.

"This is a temporary shortage stemming from the expansion of the production lines at the new Alon Tavor plant," Tnuva said. "We hope to return to meeting all demand very soon."

The shortage of the products at retail chains, grocery stores, and neighborhood supermarkets has led to a 10 percent drop in Tnuva's cottage cheese market share, according to a report by the private retail sales monitor Store Next.

Store Next found that Yoga has nearly disappeared from the shelves of small grocery stores. Six weeks ago, the product accounted for 6 percent of shelf space, but it has now dropped to just 0.4 percent. Tnuva cottage cheese has also lost its share of shelf space, having dropped from 76 percent of cottage cheese space to 72 percent. Tnuva has lost about 10 percent of the NIS 350 million annual cottage cheese market.

Cottage cheese is Tnuva's second-most popular product after bagged milk.

Store Next's data indicate that Strauss and Tara are the greatest beneficiaries of Tnuva's problems. Strauss' market share has grown from 10 percent to 15.5 percent in the six-week period, while Tara's share has climbed from 9 percent to 11.9 percent.

A number of Tel Aviv grocery store owners claim Tnuva has discriminated against them regarding cottage cheese distribution. One said that he has lost regular customers, since they have been forced to go to large retailers to purchase cottage cheese and Yoga.