Israeli export of matzah to the United States has declined by 11 percent after steady gains in the preceding five years had given the Israelis nearly 40 percent of the market. At the same time, sales of hand-made “shmurah matzah” have soared by about 15 percent.
Analysts note that the previous price discrepancy between domestic and Israeli matzah has shrunk: Israeli matzah used to be up to 30 percent cheaper.
There has also been an unexpected surge in sales of shmurah matzah, which has grown from about 20 percent to nearly 30 percent of total domestic sales. More expensive than regular store-bought matzah, the round, slightly burnt shmurah matzah was in years past exclusively bought by more religious Jews. Today it’s more widely popular and is sold in stores such as Costco for around $13.99 per pound.
Meanwhile, Manischewitz, one of the world’s largest kosher manufacturers and the largest seller of Passover matzah, has been acquired by Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity giant Bain Capital. The deal’s price was not disclosed.
Manischewitz, which was founded in 1888, was sold in 1990 for $42.5 million to Kohlberg & Co. In 1998, it was sold for $124.7 million to Millbrook Distribution Services, a subsidiary of R.A.B. Enterprises, which was then sold to the Harbinger Capital Group in 2007.
Manischweitz is based in Newark, N.J. — kosher today