Matza Sales Ring Up Holiday Cheer

Matza makers reported yesterday that they expect to sell NIS 110 million worth of the unleavened bread for this Passover.

The report delivered to the Manufacturers' Association projects an increase of 10 percent in sales over last Passover. The sector's forecast includes NIS 70 million in domestic sales and NIS 40 million in exports, which translates into the export of 3,000 tons of matza to more than 40 Jewish communities worldwide.

Matza prices are 8 percent higher this year than last due to higher prices for raw materials. The price of a 2.5-kilo package of matza averaged NIS 25-30.

There are 15 types of matza on sale this year, including those flavored with honey, eggs and chocolate. There are also round and gift-wrapped matzot.

Even the health food craze has not passed over the matza sector. This year, sales of low-cal matza, matza with extra fiber, and whole wheat and soft wheat matza have significantly increased since last Passover. This group maintains a 14 percent share of the market, twice that of last year. The matza manufacturing leaders are Matzot Rishon, Matzot Aviv, Yehuda Matzot and Em Hachita Matzot.

Israeli vintners, meanwhile, said wine sales are expected to reach NIS 160 million, a 10-percent increase over last year. Ninety percent of the 7.5 million bottles of wine sold during the holiday period will be domestic wines. Over the past year, Israeli winemakers have invested NIS 54 million in equipment, technology and the development of new wines. In addition to buying more local wine, Israelis have purchased higher-end bottles this year.

Wine exports are expected to reach $7.75 million, 14 percent greater than last Passover. Wine exporters have sent 22,000 bottles to Israeli travelers in India, Thailand, Nepal and elsewhere throughout the world. The country's leading wineries are Carmel Winery, Golan Heights Winery, Binyamina Wines, Teperberg, Arza Winery, and Barkan.

The Manufacturers' Association reported that 57 percent of all industry will be closed throughout the holiday including 68 percent of foodstuffs manufacturers, 11 percent of metals and electronics factories, and many chemicals, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, textile building products, and consumers goods makers.