Healthy food and premium alcohol products to Israel

superfood free-from vegan alcoholic-beverages
Special Advisor on Economic and Trade Policy
Alon Gold
+972 (0)3745 6614
The Israeli market for food and alcohol is constantly growing and currently changing due to the government’s liberalisation efforts. The aim is to increase the share of imported products to encourage the competition and bring down the prices. At the same time, new taxation regulations pave the way for premium alcoholic beverages and healthy consumer trends create special market potential for innovative natural produce.
In 2011, a widespread social protest against the high costs of living fuelled the change that is now visible on the Israeli food market. Following the government’s efforts, the share of imported food products is now increasing while the market becomes more competitive. Even though the import share is still lower than the average in OECD-countries, retailers as well as importers now look abroad for valuable opportunities.
This market is characterised by continuous growth. In 2017, the revenues from the retail food market grew with 1,7 % thanks to the price decreases. The country’s rapidly growing population also boosts the growth rate of private expenditure of food and beverages, which has been 3,2 % during the past 16 years.
Growing market opportunities for foreign products
The recent reforms of the regulatory process involved in importing food to Israel have made it easier for foreign companies to enter the market. Since 2017 the regulations lean on the EU approach, which means that pre-approval from the Israeli Ministry of Health is no longer required.
At the same time, the Ministry of Economy encourages competition in specific sub-sectors by publishing periodical custom-free quotas for several food categories. A reform in the taxation of alcoholic beverages, initiated in 2013, has also dropped the relative prices for premium spirits. As a result, the purchases of these products is now growing among the Israelis.
In 2015, the consumption of whisky grew by 40 % and since then many new premium spirit labels have entered the market. As the price gap between economy and premium products was further diminished with additional tax reforms, the market for alcoholic drinks grew with 2 % in 2016.
Private labels also win ground as a new trend following Supersol’s footsteps. The country’s largest food chain has been successful in promoting its own brand including a green brand for health, free-from and organic products.
Finnish produce can answer to healthy food trends
As the Israeli market is opening up for more imported products, this means new markets especially for healthy and super food products as well as vegan and vegetarian alternatives. The trend among the consumers is currently to choose these types of products instead of meat and cheese. Israel has also been considered one of the leading global centres of the vegan movement.
Therefore, there is an interest among Israeli buyers to get to know high-quality Finnish products following these trends, including premium spirits. The companies should bring something new to the market that highlight the arctic nature and especially the following products have market potential:
  • Frozen and packaged berry-based products.
  • Oats-based products.
  • Innovative food solutions with focus on vegan solutions such as plant-based products replacing meat as well as free-from products.
  • Packed healthy or wholegrain brands and similar products.
  • Alcoholic spirits with a competitive edge.
Food from Finland brings Israeli buyers to Helsinki

Finnish companies will have the chance to discuss with selected Israeli food and alcohol importers in Helsinki at a “meet the buyer”- event on May 14th. The event is organized by Business Finland’s growth program Food from Finland. The detailed program and buyer profiles will be announced later.

If you are interested in this opportunity or want to know more about the Israeli market, please contact:

Alon Gold
Special Advisor on Economic and Trade Policy
+972 (0)37456614