Osem USA Changes Matzoh Market, Including Introducing “Freshness Pouch”


matzohFor most American Jews, selecting matzah for Pesach was a pretty straight forward exercise. There were few choices and little to differentiate between the major brands.

That’s now beginning to change, as Osem USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Osem-Nestlé Israel, the largest kosher grocery food manufacturer in the world, has started to shake things up in a category that has long been about as exciting as, well, flour and water.

The matzah season for American Jews is focused almost exclusively around Passover (which this year begins at sundown on April 18th). This is the time of the year when non-kosher keeping Jews typically make their one and only purchase of matzah – and they purchase plenty of it.. Osem USA, for example, sells 2 million tons of matzah annually to American consumers, more than any other Israeli company.

Historically, until the 1980s, two domestic companies owned the matzah category in the U.S. This, however, began to change when Israeli companies began to offer a much more affordable product to American Jews – about half the domestic matzah’s price – even though they imported the flour from the U.S. to make the matzah in Israel and then exported it back to America.

“Most supermarkets would typically sell three or four brands, the domestic brands and one or two Israeli matzahs,” said Izzet Ozdogan, President of Osem USA. “It was a category that had little innovation and didn’t make either the supermarket nor the importer any money.”

Osem, a leading importer of kosher Israeli foods to the U.S., then decided to shake things up in the matzah category. Partnering with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Osem USA began to differentiate itself in the matzah market by offering a one-of-a-kind offer to consumers: for every five-pound box of matzah sold, it would contribute $2 to the JNF to plant trees in Israel (up to $400,000 a year). Since beginning the program in 2006 – with Osem reaching the ceiling every year – it has donated more than $2,000,000 to the JNF, resulting in the planting of an estimated 400,000 trees in Israel.

“It’s a good deed to plant a tree in Israel,” said Ozdogan. “American Jews are supportive of good deeds and care deeply about the nation of Israel. We are very happy that consumers overwhelmingly supported our program, which enabled us to plant over 400,000 trees in Israel.”

In addition, Osem USA broadened its matzah offerings to include a 5-lb whole wheat matzah bundle, at the same price and size of its regular matzah counterpart, even though the whole wheat product is 40% higher in cost. The decision to offer whole wheat was based on the increased popularity of whole wheat breads in America.

Osem USA also added a premium chocolate coated matzah (plain, orange or raspberry flavored), rye, egg, egg & onion, and others.
The company soon made other changes to set its matzah apart. Two years ago, in contrast to the often plain packaging of its competitors, the company commissioned two talented young Israeli artists to illustrate important events in the Haggadah (the Passover prayer book) on the boxes of the different matzah products. There are presently 13 different renderings on the boxes of its various varieties of matzah depicting among other scenes the Red Sea crossing, the delivery of the 10 commandments, and the burning bush.

‘Freshness’ Pouch Offered

To add to the value, last year, the 5-lb matzah package started to include discount coupons for other Osem products. Beginning this year, a unique freshness pouch has been added to each 5-lb package, free of charge.

“After opening a box of matzah, it’s a problem to keep it fresh and air tight,” said Ozdogan. “The complimentary pouch that we now include solves that problem. Aside from buying a matzah box in a Judaica store, there is nothing else out there.”

As a result of these efforts, Osem USA has dramatically increased its market share of matzah in the U.S. Perhaps even more importantly, the growth in matzah sales has increased the company’s visibility and brought attention to its other products – like Bamba, a nutritional peanut butter snack that is the best-selling snack and the strongest children’s brand name in Israel; and Bissli, an almost equally iconic brand.

“Israeli matzah still sells for considerably less than domestic brands,” said Ozdogan, who came to America 21 years ago after working as Osem’s export manager in Israel. “Matzah brings people into stores during Passover and, as a result, has been well worth the effort strategically in helping make Osem and its line of products better known here.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. 2 million tons of matza?? That’s 4 billion pounds – or around 10 pounds of matza for every man, woman and child in the USA, including the 200 million who never saw a matza in their lives. You think?

  2. shalom and Greetings!
    We have a small congregation in India,
    we are getting ready for Pesach,(Passover)on April
    17th evening2011.
    if you have any chance to send some Matza(bread)
    for the congregation, lease send me some Matza packets at leaast 3 small packets.we have no money to buy passover Matza.
    this is me Postal Address
    Bro:chandra sekhar.ch
    M.D.O.off RD,
    E.G.Dt, A.P.
    INDIA- 533 253.
    cell:91 9989970579.
    thank you so much.

  3. Why does the back of the OSEM box have a picture of Moshe on Har Sinai holding the Ten Commandments, the Israelites below (wrong holiday) & the phrase “…Had He given us the Torah, and not brought us into the Land of Israel, It would have sufficed us…”

    1. The Hagadah specifically states that G-d took us out us Egypt to give us the Chosen Land.
    2. The phrase from ‘DAYAINU” is out of context.
    4. Would OSEM USA dare & put on their package the phrase in the line before of DAYAINU “..Had he brought us to Har Sinia, and not given us the Torah, It would have sufficed us…”

    So is OSEM USA imitating Neturei Karta or ignorant of the Hagaddah & Torah?

  4. Does Osem make its matzos from USDA certified orgaanic wheat or
    are you ethical enough to use ONLY non-gmo wheat?
    how heavily is wheat destined for Passover assaulted
    with toxic pesticides?

  5. Osem Passover Matzah’s are so good that I now want to buy these year round. My friends like these too and I wish I’d bought more when these were available. These taste fresh and crisp, with a mild roasted flavor as these are quick baked. As a baker, I am impressed with the flavor considering flour and water are the only ingredients. They must use quality flour and water for the flavor to be so good. Prior to trying Osem’s this year,I thought Matzah tasted a bit bland with a fragrance of cardboard, and I used less than one box a year. If Osem’s were available year round I’d probably use two boxes each month. Thank you for your review of Osem. And thanks to Osem too! Bless you!