Selling for Peanuts

Israel's Favorite Bamba Snack Is Now Being Sold for Less by Trader Joe's

The peanut-flavored puffs caught the attention of American consumers after studies pointed to the snack as a possible explanation for the far lower allergy rates found among Israeli children

The popular Osem-produced Bamba snack, on sale in New York.
Tzach Yoked

Israeli food giant Osem has started manufacturing Israel’s iconic Bamba snack for U.S. supermarket chain Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s Bamba is being sold for less than Osem-branded Bamba both in Israel and in the United States.

The peanut-flavored puffs have caught the attention of American consumers due to studies showing a lower rate of peanut allergies among Israeli children than among their American counterparts, with researchers concluding that their early, repeated exposure to peanuts in snacks such as Bamba is a factor in Israel’s lower peanut allergy rate.

Trader Joe’s is calling its peanut puffs Bamba, just like the original. It is being manufactured in Israel.

Osem brand Bamba has been sold at stores around the United States for several years already. The packaging is identical to that used in Israel, complete with the diapered Bamba baby, except for the writing, which is in English instead of Hebrew.

Trader Joe’s Bamba, on the other hand, has been given a clean orange and white bag, adorned by two elephants.

The grocery chain has some 500 branches within the United States and is considered relatively health conscious and fresh.

Like the Bamba sold in Israel, its Bamba contains only four ingredients, it points out to consumers.

Trader Joe’s is selling 100-gram bags – 3.5 ounces – for $0.99. It’s nearly impossible to find it for such a good price, says the chain, without explicitly mentioning Osem.

In fact, Trader Joe’s packaging makes no mention of its manufacturer, Osem.

In comparison, Osem’s Bamba is sold for $2.50 to $3 per bag in the United States. At the chain Shoprite, a 100-gram bag sells for $2.69; at New Jersey kosher supermarket Glatt Express, smaller 28-gram bags sell for about $1.

In Israel, in comparison, an 80-gram bag of Bamba retails for between 3 shekels at Rami Levy and 4.90 shekels at Shufersal. Based on the price per weight, this works out to $1.06 to $1.74 for the quantity in Trader Joe’s bags.

Osem stated that the American retailers are the ones setting the price of the product there.