Shortage of Dairy Products Expected

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A shortage of dairy products is expected on the shelves of the country's supermarkets next week. The shortages have already begun to be felt this week.

Consumers can expect to find short supplies of fresh milk in plastic bags and cartons as well as cottage cheese and spreadable white cheese, TheMarker has learned from a number of retailers. Even at the beginning of this week, dairies were shipping smaller quantities of their products to the retail stores than they usually supply because their production lines were shut down for two days for Rosh Hashanah. Although the shortfalls at the beginning of the week were relatively minor, the situation is expected to be exacerbated next week because the dairies are simply not expected to make up the production days lost due to the holidays.

For its part, however, several days before the Sukkot holiday the Tnuva dairy said it was keeping up with demand. "Tnuva dairies are operating at full production capacity to build up stock and to produce and supply our products," the dairy said. "Nonetheless, the [two] holy days of Sukkot fall in the middle of the week so there are a limited number of production days We can promise that Tnuva is doing all it can to manufacture every day and every hour that we can."

There was no immediate response from the country's two other major dairies, Strauss and Tara.

"Anyone who wants milk, cheese and cottage cheese should buy it right away, because the products simply won't be available later," a source at one of the major supermarket chains said at the beginning of the week. He also noted that his chain has been informed by the dairy producers that they will be offering fewer promotions in October due to the expected continuing product shortages. "The dairies don't want to create increased demand for their products with sales and promotions due to the expected shortages," he said.

"Instead of receiving 30 cases a day, which are about 400 packages of milk, we'll get about seven cases, said Eyal Ravid, the owner of the Victory supermarket chain. The problem is that until the dairies overcome the shortage that has been created, there's another holiday and there will be a shortage again. We will see shelves empty of products like milk, butter, cream, white cheese and cottage cheese."

When production lines are already operating 24 hours a day, other than on holy days, they simply cannot increase supply, sources at one dairy explained. In addition, they noted, many dairy products are only fresh for a matter of days. Cottage cheese, for example, expires after about eight days, they said, adding that they don't expect any excessive reaction on the part of the public.

Spare dairy shelves. Ofer VakninCredit: עופר וקנין

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