$40 Per Pound Matzoh In Manhattan
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
It may be the greatest kosher food rip-off on earth.
The NY Daily News has discovered that Crown Heights handmade shmurah matzoh is selling at almost a 100% markup in Manhattan.
The cardboard-like handmade matzoh from the matzoh bakery on Albany Avenue sells for $21 retail in Crown Heights. In Manhattan, the same box sells for as much as $40.
“They sell it to us at a mark-up and we have to sell it at a mark-up. We order 500 pounds every year and we always sell out,” Ross Breen, the general manager of Eli’s on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, said. Eli’s sells the Brooklyn-made shmurah matzoh for $40 a box.
Upscale retailer Dean & Deluca sella pound of handmade shmurah for $36 a box.
“People are willing to pay a lot for tradition,” said Benny Rogosnitzky, the cantor at the Park East Synagogue on East 67th Street.
Several swank Upper East Side shops told the Daily News that they carry the Crown Heights matzoh versus other Brooklyn brands because of its “rare recipe blending white and whole wheat flour.”
(This is likely to be untrue. Most shmurah matzoh is made of unbleached flour, and most matzoh bakeries also make a whole wheat variety.)
$21 per pound is already exorbitant, and matzoh bakeries like D & T on Albany Avenue in Crown Heights are already making huge markups – probably several hundred percent.
The logic that allows this predatory pricing is as follows:
Matzoh baking is a 4 month per year occupation for most large shmurah matzoh bakeries. (Some smaller bakeries only work from the day after Purim until the morning of the eve of Passover – 30 days, less Shabbats – but these bakeries tend to owned and run by synagogues or small hasidic courts.)
The bakery owners have to make enough money in those four months to live for the entire year. And while most of the support staff do not and are only temporary/seasonal workers, usually a baker or two also must earn enough in these four months to live for a year.
Do the math and you can understand why handmade shmurah matzohs cost so much.
[Hat Tip: Seymour.]