In honor of Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture on Sunday published data regarding the consumption of popular foods in the country, on holiday and year-round.
Forty percent of the annual consumption of honey in Israel takes place around the Tishrei holidays, and especially around Rosh Hashanah. As much as 1,500 tons of honey are consumed in one month, with a total value of NIS 40 million ($12.5 million) in terms of cost to the consumer. The average Israeli consumes 300 grams of honey in the month of Tishrei (calculating based on the population that celebrates the Tishrei holidays).
According to Agriculture Ministry data, there are about 8,155 acres of fruit-bearing apple orchards in Israel. The crop for 2019/20 was about 104,000 tons, and the estimated crop for the 2021 season is about 115,000 tons. The average Israeli eats about 15.5 kg of apples a year. During the holiday shopping week, about 68% more apples are consumed in Israel than on an average week during the year. Israel does not export its apples.
According to Agriculture Ministry data, the estimated harvest of pomegranates this season will be about 45,000 tons – significantly higher than last season’s crop of about 35,000 tons. A significant increase in the sale of pomegranates in the retail chains can be seen the week before the eve of the holiday. The number of pomegranates sold that week is about 12% of the amount sold throughout the year. The average Israeli consumes about 6.1 kg of pomegranates per year and about 0.71 kg around Rosh Hashanah.
In an average week, an Israeli consumes about 345 grams of fish, with about 26% of it being fresh fish. But during the holiday shopping week, consumption rises to about 563 grams per capita. Consumption of fresh fish during the holiday shopping week constitutes about 34% of the total consumption of fish in general (fresh and frozen), compared with about 26% on average throughout the year. The leading fish in sales during the holiday period is the tilapia, with about 37% of the total fish sales, followed by salmon with about 35%, and the Dennis and Carp with about 4%, and the Princess of the Nile with about 3% of the total fish consumption during the holiday shopping week.
Israelis love chicken. Domestic chicken consumption is the highest in the world and stands at about 64.4 kg per capita per year, while consumption in the OECD countries is estimated at 31.7 kg per capita per year, and in the US a measly 51 kg per capita per year. The world average chicken consumption is estimated at only about 14.9 kg per capita. Today, there are about 500 breeders in the local chicken industry in Israel. During the shopping week before the High Holidays, consumption of chicken increases by about 40%.
According to Agriculture Ministry data, the average Israeli consumes about 18.1 kg of fresh and frozen beef per year. In 2019, Israelis consumed about 164,000 tons of beef, about 14% of it slaughtered in Israel and about 86% is imported. During the shopping week leading up to Rosh Hashanah, there’s an increase in demand and consumption of about 82% compared to the average weekly amount of beef sold the rest of the year. According to OECD data, the local consumption of beef in Israel is in fourth place in the world, with Argentina at the top of the list with 36.9 kg per capita, the United States with 26.2 kg per capita, and in 3rd place Brazil with 24.4 kg per capita, The average in the OECD countries is 14.4 kg per capita, and the world average stands at just 6.4 kg per capita.
Finally, even though the Agriculture Ministry did not see fit to report how much lettuce and other healthy vegetables are sold in Israel, allow us to recommend for the Rosh Hashanah dinner the Israeli salad, a chopped salad of finely diced lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, and bell or chili peppers. The salad is dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
A Happy and Healthy New Year to Everyone.