Israel's Matza Exports Drop as Production Increases in the U.S.

Exporters note rising demand for special types of matza, including those made from whole wheat, rye and bran, as well as matza with honey and chocolate.

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Regina Horowitz Margareten was the overseer of matza quality control, a task she carried out by tasting the output every few hours.Credit: Dreamstime

Israel's matza exports dropped 14 percent in 2013 from the preceding year, to a total of $16.7 million (58.12 million shekels) according to an analysis by the Israel Export Institute.

Exports to the United States, which accounted for 58 percent of total exports, dropped 21 percent to $9.1 million. The analysis was reported by the News1 website.

The reasons for the drop were the significant and continuing decline in the value of the dollar and intensified matza production in the U.S. which reduces the demand for Israeli products, according to Michal Neeman, head of the food and beverages division at the export institute.

In total, Israel exported matza to 45 countries in 2013. The main markets were the traditional ones – the U.S., the United Kingdom, Italy and France. But there were also some new markets, including Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and several African countries, such as Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Benin.

An interesting trend, according to the institute, was the demand for different types of matza, particularly for health reasons. Exporters have noted increasing demand for whole wheat and organic matza, as well as matza made from rye and bran.

There was also rising demand for "boutique' matza, such as products made from potato flour, matza with honey or chocolate, hand-made matza, round matza, egg matza and matza in holiday packaging.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews prepare 'shmura matza' in Komemiyut, March 24 2014.Credit: AFP