Supermarket sales dropped 1% last year in shekel terms and 0.1% in unit terms, the market research company Nielsen said on Sunday.
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The downturn, which mirrors similar declines in the United States and Europe, covered all major product categories – food, drinks and toiletries. Only household products showed an increase. Taking into account that Israel’s population grew 2% in the year, the actual decline was even sharper on a per capita basis.
The biggest declines were for meat, after a World Health Organization issued a warning on the risk of consuming processed meats. On the other hand, food regarded as healthy, like soy-based beverages and foods, saw sales double from 2012.
Sagit Attar, Nielsen Israel’s CEO, cited factors that include an aging population and the fact that people start families at a later age as well as the fact that consumer confidence hasn’t returned to pre-2009 levels, declining disposable income and higher living costs.
Other factors are changing shopping and eating habits. Still, she said, Israelis spend 25% of their monthly income for food and personal care products, far more than the 11% average for countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Meanwhile, the finance and agriculture ministries said Sunday that prices for controlled dairy products would come down an average of 3% in the next few days and the price for eggs by 4.62%, based on the recommendations of a joint committee.
The committee sited a 4.35% drop in the target price for raw milk, which translated into a 2.3% drop in dairies’ production costs.