Passover Dilemma: Shrinkflation Strikes Matzo Prices

Passover Dilemma: Shrinkflation Strikes Matzo Prices

Get ready for a smaller bite of tradition this Passover as consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky uncovered a sneaky trend affecting matzo prices. At popular brands like Manischewitz and Yehuda, the four-pound packages are now being sold at prices higher than the five-pound bundles just a year ago. Dworsky labeled this phenomenon as ‘shrinkflation,’ when packaging shrinks without a price decrease.

This surprising change comes just ahead of the seven-day Jewish holiday, Passover, starting on April 22. The new, smaller packs spotted at a Boston-area Stop & Shop are priced at a hefty $5.99, even surpassing last year’s cost for the larger version by a dollar. Handmade matzo, a luxury found in specialty shops, is now fetching up to $30 per pound, rivaling the prices of truffles.

While some may find these escalating costs overwhelming, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun explains the significance of matzo during Passover. As a symbol of the Jews’ hasty exit from Egypt, matzo embodies the unleavened bread they took on their journey. This unleavened bread holds a pivotal role during the Seder, the traditional feast marking the holiday’s commencement.

Some Passover observers like Roz Rachlin, an 89-year-old, ditch regular cereal during the holiday for a makeshift ‘matzo cereal’ with milk. Additionally, discussions around matzo flavors and brands are heating up among Steinmetz’s congregation due to these notable price shifts.

Stop & Shop justified the downsized packaging due to customer feedback, as some found the five-pound option excessive. The price surge, on the other hand, was attributed to the soaring costs of Kosher food supplies, reflecting broader economic patterns impacting consumers.

Despite these changes, Rabbi Steinmetz remains optimistic about his congregation’s adaptability. While acknowledging the potential impact of ‘shrinkflation’ on Kosher consumers, he humorously admitted his personal preference against matzo, teasing the expectation for a rabbi’s automatic fondness for the traditional unleavened bread. As matzo continues to dominate conversations and budgets this Passover season, the evolving landscape of food prices serves as a reminder of the intricate blend of tradition and economics in our daily lives.

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