desperately trying to save their deteriorating economy
'Fine Foods from Israel' campaign launched in US
By MELISSA RADLER
August 14, 2002
Surrounded by packages of chocolate wafers and bottles of kosher
wines, Minister of Industry and Trade Dalia Itzik announced this
week the launch of "Fine Foods from Israel," a campaign
aimed at boosting food exports to the US.
"The campaign will increase visibility and the introduction
of new brands to American consumers," said Itzik at a Tuesday
evening ceremony at Consul-General Alon Pinkas's residence, which
was decorated with Israeli products from the 30 Israeli companies
that have signed on to participate in the campaign. "We have
a great product. It's not a charity," she added.
The campaign is an attempt to revitalize Israel's packaged food
industry, said officials from Israel's Economic Mission to North
America. The industry has been hurt by the general slowdown in the
economy, anti-Israel boycotts in Europe and other markets, and a
drop in the number of Israelis eating at restaurants.
The campaign, scheduled for display in supermarkets across the
country in October, is expected to increase Israel's annual $55
million in food exports by 50% within two years, said the head of
the Israel Export Institute's public steering committee for food
and beverages, Manamim Wafers general manager Liora Birnhack Markus.
Organizers hope to increase the number of Israeli manufacturers
exporting food products to the US from 30 to 50, she said. Manufacturers
are sharing advertising costs with funds from the government.
"The campaign will help propel the sale of the Israeli products,"
said the president of Osem USA, Izzet Ozdogan.
US Jewish leaders are also pitching in to up sales of Israeli food
products here and help the campaign land contracts at major supermarkets.
At the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,
a Web site is scheduled to be launched in the coming weeks to enable
users to find the nearest store that carries their favorite Israelis
food product, said executive vice president Malcolm Hoenlein.
Synagogues are also encouraging members to press for Israeli products
in their local markets, and many Jewish groups are circulating Web
sites that offer Israeli food products, including www.shopinisrael.com
"This is one of the issues that unites the whole community,"