Roslindale Village Market Ignores Passover

Our local supermarket, Village Market (whose domain name seems to have disappeared) is generally pretty good considering its small size. Oddly, though, they don’t carry a single special kosher for Passover product. Not even a box of humble Matzah. Rachele asked the putative owner about the lack of Passover foods, but a week into the holiday there doesn’t appear to have been any progress.

The lack of kosher-for-Passover products is particularly surprising in our community which has a fairly sizable Jewish presence. In fact, I would be surprised if there were a single large supermarket in all of Massachusetts that doesn’t carry at least have a few token items during Passover.

Even from a purely economic perspective, it must be irrational to not carry these items. The overall U.S. Kosher market is over $35 billion annually. I’m not sure what percentage of that is Passover goods, but it must be substantial. I know lots of Jews who observe Passover dietary rules even when they make no attempt to follow any other kosher laws. I’ve even observed people eating shrimp on matzah! Village Market needs to get with the times. (And fix their website while they’re at it.)

Update: Steve in the comments asked for a source on the economics of Passover. I found this:

Out of an estimated $250-billion worth of kosher food sales annually, more than 40 percent take place during the Passover season, Lubinsky said.

I’m not sure how to reconcile the $250 billion here with the $35 billion figure I found elsewhere, except perhaps the former figure may not be limited to the United States, or perhaps it is retail rather than wholesale.


  1. Steve Laniel Apr 5

    The overall U.S. Kosher market is over $35 billion annually.

    This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources.
    Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. (help, get involved!)

  2. joe Apr 5

    Even better than that is stores which do carry matzah, but only carry boxes that state on them “NOT FOR PASSOVER USE”….

    … of course, I don’t particularly understand why these boxes even exists, but that’s another discussion entirely.

  3. adam Apr 5

    Sometimes where facts don’t exist, you just need to make them up.

    Actually, source.

  4. Rhea Apr 6

    I think it’s just plain rude not to stock kosher for Passover products. I mean, you have to have some way of eating your shrimp on Passover!

  5. Steve Laniel Apr 6

    Yeah, $250 billion is certainly too high. U.S. GDP is about 12 trillion. I doubt that 2% of our GDP is spent on kosher foods. There are about 6 million Jews in the U.S.. Suppose that 75% of kosher food sales are to Jews (may or may not be a high estimate; it allows for sales of, say, Hebrew National hot dogs to goyim). Then the average American Jew spends more than $30,000 annually on kosher food. Seems doubtful. Even if only 50% of kosher food sales are to Jews, that’s still $20K per person per year.

  6. agerard Apr 6

    Then the average American Jew spends more than $30,000 annually on kosher food. Seems doubtful. Even if only 50% of kosher food sales are to Jews, that’s still $20K per person per year.

    Hmm? I have about $3,500 a month budgeted towards Kosher foods. Seems I’m a little above average. Or maybe I need to find a cheaper kosher mart. But seriously, how else am I supposed to get my recommended daily value of fiber without eating 5 boxes of matzo a day?! If you have a better solution I’d certainly like to hear it!

  7. Lisa Apr 6

    Quite a lot of Kosher food is sold to people who don’t care or even realize that it’s kosher. A quick perusal of the foods at my desk include 2 different kosher candies, 2 different kosher snack bars, and 2 kosher bottles of water(!). (And only one thing that’s not marked kosher—another bottle of water.) I know that people with dairy allergies use the kosher labeling to quickly check that a food has no dairy ingredients. Similarly, vegetarians sometimes use the labeling to be sure that no meat products are included as ingredients.

    Even assuming that the spending on kosher foods does not include produce or other foods that are inherently kosher, I would not be surprised to learn that a high percentage of the food bought in the US is kosher simply because it’s good business for food manufacturers to have their products certified.

    On the other hand, I would be very surprised if 40% of kosher food sales were Passover related. 40% of Manichevitz’s sales—that I would believe.

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