Rakusen’s takes flight from Tesco as matzah wars heat up

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

RAKUSEN’S, ONE of Bri­tain’s big­gest kosher food pro­duc­ers, will no longer sup­ply its prod­ucts to Tesco su­per­mar­kets fol­low­ing a pric­ing dis­pute.

The Leeds-based com­pany’s prod­ucts — in­clud­ing matzah, soups and bis­cuits — will not be avail­able af­ter cur­rent stocks runs out.

Rakusen’s said it had taken the de­ci­sion fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions over mar­gins and sup­ply prices. It reached the con­clu­sion, a spokes­woman said, that “Tesco thinks it rules the world, but we are stand­ing up for our­selves, and said no.”

It is thought Tesco, which this week an­nounced its pre-tax prof­its for the six months up to the end of Au­gust of £1.4bil­lion, will re­place Rakusen’s prod­ucts with items im­ported from Amer­ica and Is­rael.

The Rakusen’s spokes­woman said: “We have pulled out be­cause Tesco are ham­mer­ing peo­ple all the time over prices. It’s just not vi­able to stock goods there any more.”

Its goods will re­main on sale at other su­per­mar­kets, in­clud­ing Sains­bury’s, Mor­risons, Asda and Waitrose.

A Tesco spokes­woman said: “We aim to keep prices down for cus­tomers and of­fer the best pos­si­ble value. We are not cur­rently stock­ing Rakusen’s prod­ucts but we re­main open to di­a­logue with the com­pany.

“Tesco is of course com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing a great kosher range and great value for cus­tomers.”

Nor­man Book­binder, of Great Food, which pro­duces the Gil­bert’s kosher range, said his com­pany would be pro­vid­ing a new range at Tesco early next year.

He said: “We have had great ex­pe­ri­ences with Tesco over the past year and in Fe­bru­ary there will be a mag­nif­i­cent range of new kosher foods. “We have been work­ing very closely with them. We do not lie down and die for each other. We ne­go­ti­ate in an at­mos­phere of give and take.” But Richard Hy­man, owner of the Ti­tan­ics kosher store in Manch­ester, said he was sym­pa­thetic with the po­si­tion Rakusen’s had been put in.

“Tesco should ap­pre­ci­ate that smaller busi­nesses a r e a l s o al­lowed to make a profit. A point comes where you have to turn round to the su­per­mar­ket and say ‘this is just not vi­able’. It has to be a two-way street.

“Do peo­ple want Amer­i­can matzah at a cheaper price?

“I don’t know. It’s not go­ing to be the same as Rakusen’s.”

Fly­ing off Tesco shelves no longer?

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