PITTSBURGH - Giant Eagle here has deepened its commitment to the kosher category by creating its first authentic Israeli food section.
Located in the kosher department at Giant Eagle's newest store in Bethel Park, a Pittsburgh suburb, the 12-foot set contains about 160 stockkeeping units. Kedem, Yehuda and Gefen are among the top-selling brands, said Dan Donovan, a company spokesman. (See Page 53 for related article.)
While other Giant Eagle stores carry select Israeli brands, this is the retailer's first large-scale effort. The chain may expand it to other stores.
The purpose of the effort, which comes at a time when kosher foods are gaining mainstream appeal, is to broaden the retailer's foods offerings for all shoppers, Donovan said.
"Products from Israel add to our commitment to providing customers with unique, hard-to-find items from around the world," he said.
In another first for the chain, the kosher section is situated next to the store's kosher deli rather than the international aisle, as it is in other Giant stores. The 50-foot, 700-SKU dry grocery kosher section is also much larger than those at typical stores.
The addition of imported foods elevates Giant Eagle's kosher selection, said Marcia Mogelonsky, senior market analyst for Mintel International Group, Chicago.
Many Israeli products are well-liked specialty items, like couscous, honey and jam. They often have bright, attractive packaging that adds aesthetic value to the shelf, she said.
"Israel is a dynamic country with a lot of interesting foods that just happen to be kosher," she said.
Asked about the difficulties of selling authentic Israeli foods, Donovan noted that some labels are printed only in Hebrew, which can be a challenge for customers who don't know the language. Shelf tags help shoppers identify the products they need, though, he said.