Kosher’s Newest Opponent: Costco

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By Menachem Lubinsky

It was perhaps a sign of the times when a Long Island kosher store advertised prices that are 10% – 20%¬†lower than Costco. Kosher stores used to compete only against other kosher stores, but of late they are looking over their shoulder at stores like Costco,¬†Target, Trader Joe’s and even Wal-Mart.

The discount and club stores are actively courting kosher customers with an unprecedented array of kosher products that in many ways seem to be “loss leaders” for attracting shoppers for the rest of the store. Kosher stores say that while their customers still frequent the independents, they are shopping the club stores for produce, beverage, and even bakery.

I am convinced more than ever that today’s kosher customer has figured it all out. They still use the kosher independents for prepared foods, kosher specialty items, and meats, but look for discounted dry goods in supermarkets and buy their produce and discounted kosher foods at stores like Costco.

I can appreciate the store that has decided to take on Costco head-on but it may be a futile exercise as more and more customers are shopping at the club stores. In Long Island, for example, the Costco stores have a wide variety of kosher items in almost every category.

During a recent visit to the Brooklyn Costco, I noticed many “kosher shoppers” with their carts filled not only with such kosher items as cheese, hummus, and deli but produce, paper goods, aluminum foil, and even frozen, all items that offer the kosher stores margins they desperately need. I guess you might say: “Welcome to the new era of shopping!”

{Menachem Lubinsky-Kosher Today/ Newscenter}


  1. Consumers will go where they can get the losest prices.Even though I believe in supporting my fellow brothers,I also need to support myself. And just as the owner of the stores raise “their” price so that they can make a living that fits their lifestyle…we too, have to make “our living” by looking where we can cut the costs…since the economy is bad and wages are low. Some of us are lucky our husbands have jobs…but sorry….we must do whatever we can to pay the bills.
    I, for one, appreciate that the stores carry kosher goods at a reduced rate.(wherever that happens to be)

  2. So kosher shoppers are savvy shoppers as well. looking for the most bang for their buck. What is your point?
    This isn’t a “new era of shopping” by any standards. Shoppers have always tried to stretch their dollar as far as possible.

  3. Your headline is obscene.

    Costco is not an opponent of Kosher! They are doing a wonderful service giving us kosher products at better prices.

  4. Buruch Hashem for Cosco, if not for them I couldent make it to the end of the month sometimes because of the grocerey bills. I have 3 kinderlach and a IYH another on the way and we do a lot of shopping every week to feed everyone. Its so very expensive

  5. This is not “Kosher’s Newest Opponent.” This is the Kosher Consumer’s Newest Friend.
    Or are you saying that lowering prices for the kosher-keeping Jew is somehow against the “Kosher Establishment?”
    This seems to be related to the machlokes between the Chachamim and Rabbi Yehuda as to whether one store may lower prices below normal market in order to attract costumers. We pasken that yes, they may, ve’tavo alaihem bracha.

    An interesting phenomenon I noticed that has been corroborated by many: around yomim tovim, the non-Jewish stores tend to have sales on kosher items, while the heimische stores raise prices [think Pesach…]

    It’s interesting that this “anti-savings for the Jewish consumer” headline appears on a page where your survey asks – “are you behind on your tuition payments?” Ve’dai LeChakima…

  6. I don’t think it is fair to call a store that carries a wide array of kosher products an “opponent to kosher” as your headline implies. The headlines sounds like they are fighting carrying kosher or fighting kosher standards. In truth, they are carrying more and more kosher. In truth, they are supporting kosher. They are not “Kosher Opponents”.

  7. The headline “Kosher’s Newest Opponent: Costco” is rather misleading, no? Surely you didn’t mean to imply that Costco is anti-kashrus?

  8. in baltimore our kosher supermarket has expanded so has their prices. the smart baltimore koshers shoppers are now being seen in sams club , walmart etc every sunday on masse.

  9. “Opponent” was meant to indicate that it is sort of a competition between the Kosher supermarket verses them.In actuality, there is none. Once the prices drop, the consumer will try to get the best for his dollar, and that should be assumed. Of course, there are always people who will not frequent stores like Costco, because they don’t have the time or it is not convenient. But for those of us, who have the time and need to lower our bills, we will make the trek to one of these stores to help us out.
    It would be great if we could support “only” heimishe stores, but the fact remains, that he needs to support his family in the way that he wants and so, if it means that in order for him to buy the house that I will never have, or other stuff….he will raise his prices, then I am not mechiyav to support that if I can get it cheaper.B’H…we all wish everyone the best in supporting their families, but we have to support ours too…..(for those who bring up that we must support heimishe stores and yidden)

  10. They are the opponent of the kosher consumer just like Wlmart is the opponent of the general consumer. They will ultimately starve out the competition which in the long run reduces choice. Costco will never carry the variety of kosher foods which the local kosher grocer does and when they force the local out of business, access to those foods (many of them imported) will simply disappear.

  11. Are we supposed to feel bad for the kosher stores that price gouge every peasch. This is called capitalism and if its better for the consumer i support it. Our community has huge expenses like skyrocketing tuiton and real estate in frum areas so we could use a break. If people want to get ripped off by supporting frum stores thats there perogative, but its also their choice not to.

  12. “access to those foods (many of them imported) will simply disappear”.

    Is it compulsory for charedi Yiddn to eat imported food?

    If money is so scarce,and if anash is surviving on food stamps and charity hand-outs, surely food made and/or grown in the United States will just have to do.


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