April 24, 2008

The Great Matzah Shortage of 2008

This week I received a couple of interesting phone calls/emails from various friends who complained that they have run out of matzah. It surprised me as more often than not I hear stories about families that have too much matzah.

Well it seems that there might be more to the story than I realized. I just stumbled across a story on the New York Times about this very topic.

"The reasons behind the matzo shortage range from manufacturing problems, decisions by some stores not to carry the product this Passover and vague talk of a possible work stoppage.

“It seemed like the whole region had a problem getting it in,” said Jason Hodges, a supervisor in the grocery department at a Whole Foods in Miami. A person who answered the phone at a ShopRite in Philadelphia said stores there were sold out, as was the Food Emporium in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., in Westchester County.

“We heard there was a strike or something,” said the Food Emporium manager, Frantz Baptiste. “The first shipment we had was a month ago, and we never got another one.”

Phone calls and e-mail messages to the largest suppliers of unleavened bread products, Streit’s, Manischewitz and Yehuda, brought no response on Monday, possibly because executives were off for Passover, which began Saturday night.

But Manischewitz officials have said that problems with a new state-of-the-art oven in its only New Jersey plant caused it to scrap this Passover’s supply of Tam Tam crackers, its little six-sided matzo morsels, as well as some less popular matzo varieties.

Trader Joe’s stores opted not to sell Passover matzo this year, as did some Costco stores. “It’s not a huge item for us,” said a Costco spokesman, Bob Nelson."

8 comments:

Leora said...

Do you think this is partly a sign that people are interested in being more traditional and businesses have not yet caught on to this trend?

There is still plenty of matza in the Stop 'n Shop in Highland Park, New Jersey, and Stop 'n Shop knows that there are many Passover customers in our town.

orieyenta said...

I went to our supermarket (Publix - a large chain) yesterday only to find that they had totally dismantled the Passover section and there was not a Passover item in sight. When we asked the manager about it, he told us that the vendor had taken away everything that was left over. So, of course their corporate headquarters got a not so nice phone call and e-mail from us.

(Thankfully we had stocked up ahead of time but we were craving some of those Pesach fruit slice thingys...guess we'll have to hold off until next year!)

Di Mackey said...

Hmmm, maybe things were better in Brussels this year - I had my first taste of matzo today ... I think?

Chana said...

I heard that about Manishev issues - we miss the Tam Tams - DH said the Tamsters might be going on strike. (groan)

Here in Ohio, Kroger (a large chain) has been terrific about stocking for Passover. I really have to commend them for serving the Jewish community here!

Chana said...

Oh, and we have two Trader Joes here, and while they do carry some kosher stuff, I haven't been as impressed as some people have. Certainly not enough to drive 15 minutes farther out of my way to get there.

I've got three boxes left, and I don't know that we'll eat it all. We just don't gobble it up like some do, I guess.

Jack said...

Leora,

Truthfully until today I hadn't spent any real time thinking about it. I hadn't noticed the problem, just heard about it.

Yenta,

Those wacky Pesach cravings.

Di,

Matzah in moderation isn't too bad, but a week of it....

Chana

Kroger does a decent job, but they are nothing compared to

Trader Joes

Jewish Deaf Motorcycling Dad said...

My wife bought 15 boxes of matzah (3 5 packs). Hope she didn't cause the shortage! Actually I saw some more at Giant (which is owned by the same company as Stop and Shop). I usually try to get macaroons, matzah meal, etc. after Passover starts, that's when they are marked down 50%. Got macaroons for $1 a can, Dr. Brown's Black Cherry for $0.50 a bottle. But I didn't think we needed more matzah.

Jack said...

JDM,

If you can wait until midweek everything is really cheap.