couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Gevina levana- only for poor people?

There is an interesting editorial on Ynet regarding the inclusion of gevina levana into the list of price-regulated products.  The author says that regulating the price of gevina levana turns it into a cheap product, which is a product that only poor people would eat, and therefore” regular” people will now purchase the specialty gevina levana products instead.  This is what happened with bread, eggs and milk.

So who does price regulation help?  The manufacturers, because now consumers purchase a more expensive product.  Not the consumers, who on average spend 40 shekels per month on gevina levana.  They would see a 20% price reduction which translates to a savings of 8 shekels per month.

In addition, by regulating the price of gevina levana, there is no incentive for the supermarkets to offer a variety of brands, which will also hurt the consumer and push out the small dairies, which fought tooth and nail for years to get a market share.

This editorial struck me as very sad.  Where has this superiority complex come from, that we can’t be seen buying price-regulated products?  He states that it is the middle class that won’t purchase products which have a reputation as “poor people food”.  How did that happen? I would say that I am middle class, and I love the fact that I can go into any super fancy supermarket and purchase these products and not worry about how expensive they are.  Am I hanging out with the wrong crowd?  Have values degenerated so much that people judge you on your cheese product?  Seriously, people, if it is that important, take it out of the container, hide it in the bottom of your trash can and serve it in a fancy dish!   Blaming the manufacturers for price regulation is just illogical.  Price regulation is here to support the people who need support and allowing these products to be stigmatized just shows how spoiled we are becoming as a nation.

The US controls the prices of many agricultural products as well, including dairy products.  There, however, the prices are artificially elevated to support the farmer.  The price of milk in the US is still less than the price in Israel, although that is emphatically denied by the Milk Board, which states that products aren’t compared properly (bag vs. carton) and that sales tax should not be included.

How do you feel about price-regulated products?  Do you purchase them or do you prefer the specialty products?



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4 thoughts on “Gevina levana- only for poor people?

  1. Bracha on said:

    You got to be kidding, complaining about saving money? Hello? Aren’t you the same crowd that demonstrated over cottage cheese? I think I am with you then, in the “wrong crowd” . I think that people will buy more gevina levana and use it in morerecipes since it is cheaper, and the manufacturers will benefit.

  2. Obviously I buy milk and eggs like every other person in this country. Truthfully since I read your post I started buying milk in the 1 liter. cartons because they are slightly cheaper. Its great that these products are cheaper and have a standard price. If it helps out those less fortunate excellent but in the end it helps everyone. The perception that it’s. “Poor”, food is ridiculous. Maybe this is just more of the Israeli thought process that I don’t understand.

  3. Phyllis Freedman on said:

    It is so foolish to ignore even a few cents reduction in price. It is akin to throwing the money away.

  4. “There, however, the prices are artificially elevated”
    The price of milk in Israel is definitely in the same place – regulated not ‘down’ but ‘up’. Part of the price of milk is ‘mechir l’matara’ which is a regulated percentage that the dairy producers must fork over to the dairies which are mostly kibbutzim and moshavim in rural areas and on the border areas. The dairies on these settlements are highly profitable and something that keeps many of the kibbutzim from bankruptcy since the rest of the agriculture is not as sure a thing as the milk supply and demand.

    A regulated price of white cheese won’t make us richer, but it will put a major dent into the profitability of the main producer Tnuva by tens of millions of shekels.
    Tnuva, became the bad boy a long time ago. Besides a past general manager which called Yesha settlers cancer, the cooperative made an exit and sold a majority stake to some investment company. The investment company’s (Leumi and Hapoalim) main purpose of ownership is not to build a super company but rather to increase the profits so that the value of Tnuva increases so that they could then flip Tnuva onto some sucker buy for a much higher price.

    There is also talk about selling part of Tnuva to one of the big multinational companies. That would be very bad because they would funnel profits out of the country.

    Certainly, the high price of some products allows more producers into the market which maybe does not keep prices low, but does allow more selection and more companies to have market share.

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