Photo Credit:
Sam's Club is one of several chains cashing in on the new "kosher fad."

“Kosher” is the new fad, and some of America’s largest discount chains are cashing in.

It was nearly two years ago that a Wal-Mart spokesman revealed that the mega discounter carried kosher products in more than 500 stores, part of a growing trend where Club stores and discount chains like Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, and BJ’s were investing more in kosher.

Advertisement



For Wal-Mart, its emergence as the nation’s largest grocer meant that it was only a matter of time that the mega discounter would challenge supermarkets with an emphasis on kosher. Every summer Wal-Mart becomes a serious competitor in kosher at its Catskills stores where sales are said to approach $3 million for just the 10 weeks of the summer when tens of thousands of Jews descend on the Upstate New York resort area.

Its new store in Skokie, Illinois raises the bar on kosher with hundreds of kosher products, including Cholov Yisrael products and glatt kosher meats.

Most notable in the new store is its rather impressive large signage of kosher aisles, special refrigerators and freezers and even bakery. Its average kosher section in many stores is about 12 square feet compared to 100 square feet for the Skokie store.

Wal-Mart will be taking on the impressive Kosher Marketplace in Jewel-Osco, the city’s largest interdependent exclusive kosher supermarket, Hungarian Kosher and the small Kol Tuv market.

Soon to come will be a new Marriano’s supermarket that has already announced its intention of including a robust kosher section.

Wal-Mart is not alone in its quest for a share of the kosher market. Costco continues to upgrade its kosher offerings as is Target and BJ’s.

While many kosher purveyors expressed delight at the Wal-Mart development, they acknowledge that “it is still very much an experiment for them.”

Advertisement

22 COMMENTS

  1. I remember once going to Walmart and seeing Hebrew National hot dogs for $2.50. I was elated and started to stack them in. I asked a stocker (?) what was the deal? I was told, “Jewish rabbis prayed over them, and who knows what they might pray!” I laughed as I piled them up, “I’m a Jew! I’m praying to benefit from gentile ignorance.” I ended up buying more at even lower prices. But typically I see few overtly Kosher products there.Walmart’s the only game in this small town.

  2. I used to be impressed that Walmart carried Rubashkin small goods (salamis and prepared meats). In fact, that fact is a pillar of my conspiracy theory that big players in the meat biz (I like to cite Conagra’s Hebrew National) were so alarmed at the glatt and Rubashkin’s penetration into their traditional markets that they played an (unestablished and unproven) pivotal role in bringing Rubashkin down and sending him to the federal Big House on trumped up charges.

  3. We lived for many years in Stowe, Vermont and were frequent visitors to nearby Burlington. The response of the majority of the Jewish community in this part of Northern Vermont to supermarket chains such as Price Chopper and Shaws carrying Kosher meat, poultry, bakery and grocery products was so pathetic that Shaws threw in the towel and Price Chopper has greatly reduced its line. I wish Walmart and others every success and will certainly patronize them when on our visits to our former home and would suggest they meet with the spiritual leaders of the predominant non Orthodox northern Vermont communities to try and enlist their support for Kashrut in Vermont so that we don’t have to go running to nearby Montreal for our Kosher needs.

  4. We lived for many years in Stowe, Vermont and were frequent visitors to nearby Burlington. The response of the majority of the Jewish community in this part of Northern Vermont to supermarket chains such as Price Chopper and Shaws carrying Kosher meat, poultry, bakery and grocery products was so pathetic that Shaws threw in the towel and Price Chopper has greatly reduced its line. I wish Walmart and others every success and will certainly patronize them when on our visits to our former home and would suggest they meet with the spiritual leaders of the predominant non Orthodox northern Vermont communities to try and enlist their support for Kashrut in Vermont so that we don't have to go running to nearby Montreal for our Kosher needs.

  5. I grew up in Skokie and it was about 85% Jewish in the 70’s. I was back there about three years ago, and it’s all black and brown now. so why isn’t Walmart doing this where most of the Jews are now, like Northbrook and further suburbs

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...