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Oy Vey: Passover Matzo Packages Shrink

Shoppers may do a double take when checking out the Passover food display at some local supermarkets this year because the traditional five-pound bundles of some brands of matzo have been downsized to just four pounds.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Manischewitz matzo packages4-lb. and 5-lb. Manischewitz matzo bundles

Both Manischewitz and Yehuda, two leading brands of kosher foods, just introduced four-pound packages of this Passover staple in addition to their traditional bundle which has five one-pound packages and has been around for decades. (In the late ’50s or early ’60s, my father used to take me to the Horowitz-Margareten matzo factory in New York to buy five-pound packages of matzah.)

“Passover matzo has been one of the few products that has escaped shrinkflation until now,” explained Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky. “On top of that, some stores are raising prices too, so it is a double whammy for shoppers.”

Kayco, which owns Manischewitz and distributes the Yehuda brand, explained that “consumer need” drove the decision to offer both four and five-pound bundles, with individual supermarkets deciding which they will carry. It also said that raw materials and packaging costs have gone up.

Stop & Shop, a leading supermarket chain in the Northeast, where the new four-pound packages were first spotted in Boston, said in an emailed statement in part:

Stop & Shop is now stocking both 4- and 5-pound matzos at our stores for our customers who celebrate Passover. What we heard from many of our customers is that they didn’t utilize all of the product in the 5-pound bundles, which comes at a higher price point, so we now offer both sizes to help our customers save money and reduce waste. … Like other retailers across the country, we have faced increased costs from our Kosher suppliers in 2024 so customers may see higher prices on some items.

In fact, the new four-pound Manischewitz and Yehuda matzo bundles are on sale at Stop & Shop in Boston for $5.99 this year, a dollar more than last year’s price for the five-pound size. That translates to a 50-percent price increase per pound. For decades, Stop & Shop and some other chains have sold five-pound packages for only $4.99 perhaps as a loss leader. The five-pound bundles are $6.99 this year at Stop & Shop, for example – a 40-percent price hike. (See update at the end of this story.)

4 and 5 pound matzo at S&S in Brookline, MA4-lb and 5-lb matzo bundles at a Brookline, MA Stop & Shop

Not all major matzo manufacturers have followed Kayco’s lead. The makers of Streit’s and Aviv matzo say they have not downsized their brands. For its part, a manager at Aron Streit, Inc. said in reply to a customer’s question, “I am not sure what our competitors are thinking or doing, but we are still only selling five-pound bundles and definitely are not changing that anytime soon.”

The manufacturer of Aviv matzo, a popular Israeli brand sold in the United States, speculated that perhaps Kayco was jumping on the shrinkflation bandwagon.

Not all supermarket chains have moved away from the traditional size and price for Passover matzo. Star Market and Shaw’s in New England and Jewel-Osco in Chicago, divisions of Albertsons Companies, for example, still offer five-pound packages of Manischewitz, Yehuda, and Streit’s matzo for $4.99 on sale. And they are even offering an additional $1-off digital coupon on Streit’s.

5-lb matzo bundles for $4.99 at Star Market in Boston

A spot-check of Passover product sale prices this year at Stop & Shop in New Jersey compared to their sale prices last year reveals some significant price increases.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Passover price comparison

Shrinkflation has hit other Passover products in recent years. Yehuda matzo farfel went from a nine-ounce canister to an eight-ounce box. And Goodman’s macaroons, which were traditionally sold in 10-oz. cans, were downsized to nine ounces last year and came packaged in resealable bags.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Goodman's macaroons

April 5 UPDATE

Stop & Shop in Monroe Township, New Jersey, in their April 5 – 11 circular, advertised some of the key items in our comparison at a lower sale price:

Updated Passover prices

And Stop & Shop stores in the Boston area also lowered some prices as of April 5. For example, four and five-pound bundles of matzo as pictured above are one dollar less.

If you spot a newly downsized product, please send details and pictures to: Edgar(at)MousePrint.org .

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9 thoughts on “Oy Vey: Passover Matzo Packages Shrink”

  1. At the Passover seder, the youngest person at the table asks what are known as the “four questions.” The first one is “Why is this night different from all other nights.”

    This prompts me to ask how are the kosher food manufactures different from all other manufacturers? Answer: They’re not — they can be just as greedy and tricky.

    Reply
  2. The proper response here is to buy from the brands that still only sell 5lb packages and leave feedback with the other companies on why you won’t be purchasing their products.

    I noticed that our local supermarket also finally succumbed to shrinking down their orange juice containers from 64oz, skipping 59, and going straight for 52oz containers for the same or higher costs as well.

    Reply
    • You can find recipes to make it at home but if you care if it’s certified Kosher for Passover, it’s not easy. There are specific rules most of which I don’t know but one I remember is that the flour can’t be wet for more than 18 minutes from mixing through baking.

      Reply
  3. These companies are missing a very good response to matzo-gate. They should say:

    “Part of the Passover tradition is the hiding of the matzo, wherein the children at the Seder must find the hidden matzo to receive a reward. We here at are embracing this tradition, and have hidden the missing 1-pound box of matzo somewhere in the United States. Whoever finds it will not only have their complete 5 pounds of matzo, but we will reward you with 10oz of macaroons.”

    Reply
  4. Well, it’s sure no bargain, but if you’re having a hard time finding matzo close to the holiday, Costco has 5-lbs of it for $8.99. Just bought some yesterday. Your Costco may vary.

    Reply
  5. Despite being advertised in the circular, there were no 4 or 5lb boxes of matzo available at my local Shaw’s this season, nor at the two other well-known grocery stores I frequent.

    Do you want to talk about shrinkflation? The number of Passover-related products available in these stores has dwindled over time to almost nothing.

    The local population is 92,000, with an estimated 10,000 Jewish residents. I am not one to mince words and have, at one time or another, asked the store managers if I was the only Jew in the neighborhood.

    Reply