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Wissotzky tea company in hot water after Israel declares it a monopoly

The Israel Competition Authority found that the company owns 70% of the green tea and herbal infusions market share.

Bedouin tea in the Judean Desert. Photo by Sara Klatt/Flash90.
Bedouin tea in the Judean Desert. Photo by Sara Klatt/Flash90.

A tea company that has operated for nearly 175 years is in hot water in Israel.

Michal Cohen, director-general of the Israel Competition Authority, declared on June 26 that Wissotzky Tea holds a green tea and herbal infusion monopoly.

The authority’s investigation, which began a year-and-a-half ago, found that Wissotzky, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, owns more than 70% of the market share in those two areas.

Wissotzky tea
Carton pack of Earl Grey and Blue Flowers Tea. The Leaves Collection by Wissotzky. Credit: Verbaska/Shutterstock.

“This market power secured Wissotzky stable dominance for a number of years,” per the agency. “Because of this market power, Wissotzky’s competitors had difficulties in increasing their sales even when they offered lower prices than those offered by Wissotzky and even when introducing to Israel new brands that had enjoyed success abroad.”

Now Wissotzky, which began in Moscow and which has produced teas since 1849, will be considered a “large supplier” under Israeli law. Among the new restrictions it will face are prohibitions on interfering in supermarket shelf arrangement and on making product sales conditional upon one another, per the agency.

The Israel Competition Authority did not find Wissotzky to be a monopoly in the black tea market, where it held less than 50% share. The company can also appeal the ruling.

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