Wynnewood Giant Supermarket’s New Kosher Section

— by Ronit Treatman

The community has spoken, and Giant Supermarket has listened!  The Wynnewood store’s grand opening will include an improved and expanded kosher section.  Here is what is in store for us.

More after the jump.
Supervision

Keystone-K will provide supervision.  Rabbi Shlomo Caplan will be in charge of this kosher store-within-a-store.

Bakery

There will be a greater variety of kosher baked goods brought in from a larger assortment of vendors.  Giant’s in-store kosher bakery will prepare fresh pareve cakes and cookies.

Deli

The deli department will prepare a greater variety of fresh salads.  Kosher sandwiches will be available.  Kosher rotisserie and fried chicken will be offered.  Kosher sushi and fish will continue to be purveyed.  There will be a full kosher meat department.  Takeout Shabbat appetizers, dinner entrees, and desserts will be sold.  Kosher prepared pizza is in the works.

Israeli Products

Giant Supermarket is committed to providing a larger selection of Israeli products.  Among other new additions there will be a fine selection of imported kosher cheese from Israel.

Giant Supermarket is hoping that its kosher department will be a one stop destination for us.  The kosher grocery section will have 800 new items that were not previously available.  If there is anything that the community would like them to supply that they do not have, please do not hesitate to comment at the bottom of this article.  Giant’s management will be reading your comments.  

Yalla Giant Supermarket! These Are The Israeli Products We Want!

— by Ronit Treatman

Ani rotze Milky!

“Milky!  Tell them I want my Milky!” replied a two-year-old Israeli when asked what he wished he could buy here.  “Milky” is a chocolate pudding snack.  This child was a customer at the Wynnewood Genuardi’s kosher section.  Lower Merion Township is home to a large Jewish community, of which a sizeable subset is made up of Israelis. They are very well educated, affluent, and in the United States for continuing education or work. Like their Jewish American counterparts, they buy many of their kosher and specialty foods at Genuardi’s.  The acquisition of Genuardi’s by Giant Supermarkets is an opportunity for this Israeli community to express what it wishes was available in the kosher section. There are no definite statistics of the population size of Israelis in Lower Merion. I surveyed over 200 Israeli families in order to obtain these results.

More after the jump.
Israeli residents really miss their dairy products! One desperate father told me he spent an hour locating “Milky” pudding snacks for his shrieking toddler. “Milky” is a delicious chocolate pudding snack topped with whipped cream.  It is produced by the Strauss Company. All the Israeli adults I questioned crave imported cottage cheese from Tnuva. They also yearn for assorted types of Feta. These are staples of the Israeli diet.

In the last thirty years, Israel has seen the growth of kosher artisanal cheese producers. They turn out unique, very high quality cheeses. The Israeli consumers really desire them. The following companies are great sources of these cheeses.

Barkanit Dairy

  • Barkanit, Brakin Farm, Kfar Yechezkel, Israel, Telephone: 972-4-6531431

This dairy produces sheep and goat’s milk cheeses in Northern Israel. Barkanit’s cheese makers learned their craft in Spain and France. They are famous for their French-influenced fresh cheeses coated with ash, and firm, Spanish-inspired cheeses.

Gad Dairy

Located in Central Israel, Gad dairy crafts cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. Among their coveted offerings are the Tsfafit (Safed) Cheese, Kashkaval, Syrian Haloumi style cheese, and Bulgarian Feta.

It was really difficult to conduct this survey. The Israeli community tends to remain almost invisible. Food is very important in the Israeli home, and Israeli customers are prepared to pay for quality. I hope that the management of Giant Supermarkets will take this demographic into account when planning their new store in Wynnewood. Israeli parents residing in Lower Merion and its environs will be eternally grateful!  

Yo Giant! Here Is What We Want In Our Wynnewood Kosher Section!

— by Ronit Treatman

Where is the Lower Merion’s Jewish shopper’s Main Street on a Friday afternoon?  Genuardi’s kosher section, of course!  It’s where we greet each other, catch up, and wish each other “Shabbat Shalom!”  Now, Genuardi’s has been sold to Giant Supermarkets.  What will this mean for our kosher section?  We won’t know for possibly another ninety days, until this transaction is given final approval by the Federal Trade Administration.  I have conducted an informal survey of a wide cross section of the Lower Merion Jewish community about what they would like from their neighborhood supermarket kosher section.  By contacting synagogues of every denomination and several Jewish neighborhood list serves, I have reached over 5,000 Genuardi’s customers.  The issues that are important to Genuardi’s kosher customers are size, supervision, and selection of products.  

More after the jump.
Size

Several people mentioned that they would like a spacious kosher section to shop in.  They held up the Shoprite on Route 70, in Marlton, New Jersey as an example of what they would like.  What Shoprite has done been brilliantly is that it has created the “Kosher Experience.”  The “Kosher Experience” is a “store-within-a-store”.  It is under the supervision of a Rabbi, with employees who are well versed in kashrut (kosher laws), and  who provide outstanding service.

Supervision

One member of the community informed everyone on the Lower Merion Shuls (Orthodox) List Serve:

The two Genuardi’s stores with kosher departments under Keystone-K supervision are scheduled to be converted into Giant stores during the next six months. Since Giant has a long existing relationship with a supervision agency that is not accepted by the community, this may not be good news.

It is very important to the most observant members of our community to retain the services of Keystone-K supervisors in order to be confident that they are complying with all the kosher laws when they are purchasing food from Giant.

Product Selection

Bakery

Many members of the community would like an in-house kosher bakery.  They especially requested many pareve (prepared without meat or milk products) baked goods.

Butcher

Current Genuardi’s customers would like better quality fresh meat, and a greater variety of cuts to be available.  All of the respondents thought the kosher meat should cost less, as it does at the ACME.  Several suggested having a special sale each week on one item from the meat section.  They explained that they host large groups of people for Shabbat dinner, and that it becomes prohibitive.


Deli

People are requesting a meat deli and a dairy deli where they can purchase fresh sliced cheeses and other high quality products.  Especially requested are Cholov Yisroel dairy products.

Prepared Food

Local residents long for a kosher salad bar, sushi, prepared sandwiches, freshly prepared meals, and prepared Shabbat foods.  

Israeli Products

People love getting imported Israeli products such as pickles, dips, frozen foods, and dairy specialties.  The Shoprite on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia carries the best selection of all the area supermarkets.  

One of the women on the Hadassah list serve wrote, “I shopped almost exclusively at Giant when I lived in MD and absolutely loved it. I’m excited about this change.”  Giant’s acquisition of Genuardi’s is an opportunity to not just retain, but to upgrade our Main Street.  Up to this point, members of our community have murmured about this among themselves.  I have assumed the responsibility of bringing the community’s concerns to Giant’s management’s attention.  No more murmurs!  We are your Jewish customers, hear us roar!