FROM KOSHER TODAY
Costco Expands Kosher Offerings to Passover
New York…by Tani Cohn…Costco, one of the nation’s largest discount chains, has taken a major step in its rapid expansion into kosher by significantly upgrading its selection of foods for the upcoming Passover holiday in April. In recent years Costco has exploded onto the kosher scene with copious offerings of kosher products in their stores and online. Starting several years ago at their location in Lawrence, NY, now dubbed the Costco-Kosher-Capital, Costco has opened kosher bakeries, expanded meats and prepared food lines, as well as ensured that their private label brand, Kirkland Signature, can be as kosher-keeping friendly as possible. Yoram Rubanenko, Vice President of Retail Operations Management in Costco’s northeast region, said that, “in response to consumers, we tested kosher sales at our Lawrence location. The response was great, with a substantial rise in sales and membership sign ups. Since then, we’ve decided to increase kosher offerings in many other stores, mainly around the Tri-State area but in other locations as well, and this has been met with a large degree of success.” He added that Costco is planning to increase kosher offerings in stores in Maryland, South Florida and Massachusetts. The most successful stores are in and around New York City, with stores in Long Island, Hackensack, Queens, and Manhattan, selling the most kosher products. Costco prides itself in the wide range of kosher products available in its deli and meat sections. In a store that carries just 3,500-4,000 SKU’s in total, between 50-60 Kosher certified SKU’s can be found in the deli and meat sections.
Costco is gearing up for its second Passover, offering a large range of perishable and non-perishable items, organizing special kosher-for-Passover marketplaces in stores with large Jewish populations. As Mr. Rubaneko said, “We have to cater to the masses and we make sure that we stock items of a good quality and at a great price. Our markup during Passover is no different than any other time of the year.” He added that “it’s a shame that Costco did not cater to the kosher consumer sooner. Finally, after enough of our customers’ lobbied for kosher products, we delivered; and the response, overall, has been fantastic.”