Daily Israel Report

Hard to Fool Orthodox Kosher Customers

Israeli firm whose subsidiary operated stores on the Sabbath changes its name and logo to draw back orthodox customers. It may not work.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/24/2011, 12:47 PM

Orthodox shoppers at Shefa Shuk competitor Rami Levy
Orthodox shoppers at Shefa Shuk competitor Rami Levy
Flash 90

An Israeli firm whose subsidiary operated stores on the Sabbath changed its name and logo to draw back Orthodox Jewish customers, but it probably won't work, Israeli food officials told the American-based Kosher Today website.

The Blue Square food conglomerate, headed by Dudi Weissman, raised the ire of Orthodox customers by operating its AM:PM stores around the clock, including the Sabbath when Jews are prohibited from working and doing business, except for life-saving issues.  

In response, the hareidi and national religious community to a large extent boycotted Blue Square’s popular Shefa Shuk supermarket chain.

Blue Square is trying to bring back Orthodox Jewish customers. First, it sold the “chametz" (bread) for Passover, as required by Jewish law, in its 24-hour stores, but that gesture was largely ignored.  Shefa Shuk sales sank drastically and the firm had to shut down 30 of its stores for lack of business.

The conglomerate then came up with the idea of changing the supermarket chain’s name to “Zol B’Shefa” and switched the name’s colors from green and red to black and red.

It also announced a new pricing policy, but one official told Kosher Today, “As bright as Weissman and his team are, they’ve probably violated every good retail principle.”

The AM:PM stores still remain open on the Sabbath.

Blue Square states that its stores "are designed to serve ultra-Orthodox shoppers and their requirements for specific standards of Kashrut."