update deskJewish & Israeli Culture

Passover 2023

Israelis to spend $2.2 billion on food for Passover—and waste a quarter of it

The average household tosses $1,927 worth of groceries each year, says Leket Israel.

Traditional Passover basics like matzah meal and farfel share shelf space with trendier food items such as sauces and seasonings. Photo by Faygie Holt.
Traditional Passover basics like matzah meal and farfel share shelf space with trendier food items such as sauces and seasonings. Photo by Faygie Holt.

Israelis are expected to spend NIS 7.8 billion ($2.2 billion) on food during Passover week, of which 250,000 tons, valued at NIS 1.9 billion ($529 million), will go to waste, according to a study by the national food bank Leket Israel.

In Israel, the expenditure on food is relatively high compared to other Western countries. Waste is a significant contributor to the high cost of living through both needless expenditures on food and inflated food prices caused by unnecessary demand.

Leket Israel pegged the additional cost at NIS 6,900 (US $1,927) per household per year.

“Unfortunately, once again with the upcoming holiday, this data speaks for itself. More and more families are unable to make ends meet at the end of the month and this Passover, the gap will grow even wider,” said Gidi Kroch, CEO of Leket Israel-The National Food Bank.

“Food rescue contributes to the reduction of waste and enhances nutritional security, thereby reducing the disparities in Israeli society at a quarter of the price of the cost of buying food. The government is not fulfilling its basic duties to its citizens to care for its citizens’ safety and security in all aspects. While some will have the privilege of spending the holiday with families, hundreds of thousands of Israelis will not be able to celebrate Passover with dignity,” he added.

Leket Israel, now marking its 20th year, is the largest food rescue organization in Israel. In 2022, it rescued 26,500 tons of fresh agricultural produce from farms and packing houses and 2 million meals from hotels, corporate cafeterias and army bases and distributed it through a network of 265 nonprofits feeding 234,000-plus Israelis in need each week.

Passover begins on the evening of April 5.

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