Shopping for food & produce in an Israeli Supermarket.
Hebrew: רשתות סופרים בישראל
Grocery shopping, supermarket shopping – we’ve done it thousands of times but there are a few things every newcomer needs to know about supermarket shopping in Israel.
You may ask “What can be so different about supermarket shopping in Israel?”
It’s all pretty much the same; poke, pick and pay but there are some differences you ought to prepare for.
Large supermarket chains
Some of the large supermarket chains are Shufersal, Mega, Rami Levi, Yayin Bitan, Osher Ad and Victory – these supermarkets are all kosher but others like Tiv Taam and Stop Market, MyMarket and Rosman’s are not kosher.
There are plenty of supermarkets that cater specifically to the Russian community and mostly their fresh produce is not kosher although they stock kosher pre-packed goods.
Arab owned supermarkets are also not kosher but they too, stock some kosher pre-packed goods.
Within a supermarket chain, you will find different types of stores; there is the suburban mini-market or express store, larger suburban supermarkets and also the hyper-stores which are usually located in industrial areas or on the outskirts of a city or town.
Prices vary between stores of the same chain – the mini-markets/express stores are the most expensive and the hyper-stores are the cheapest.
Some large supermarket chains market their own house-brand. There are some savings to be had here but there are also differences in produce quality.
- Shopping in the Shuk – the fresh produce market
- Cash Refunds
- Shop wisely and save thousands of shekels every year
Supermarket delivery services
Some of the large supermarket chains like Shufersal and Rami Levy, have a fantastic and convenient delivery service. For between 15-30 shekels you can have your groceries delivered right to your front door.
At the supermarket checkout, your groceries will be sorted into perishable items that require refrigeration and non-perishables, and they will be crated accordingly.
Supermarkets generally deliver on a 4 hourly cycle with the first delivery leaving around midday. Although tipping the delivery person is not mandatory, consider giving a small tip to show your appreciation.
- Price control on basic food items
- Favorite varieties of cheese on supermarket shelves
- Free Hebrew-English word sheet: At the shops
Shopping online for food
Shufersal, Mega and Rami Levi have websites that offer on-line shopping options. This is a wonderful solution for hardworking families. It takes a while for English speakers to navigate these sites but once you save your basic list online it becomes easier. It’s a great way to learn new Hebrew words and their spellings.
Must-know Shopping Tips for Israel
- Lots of stores offer club-cards; some are free, others are not. Some are combined with credit cards. Check the small print before you sign up for any of them.
- Be prepared for shoppers who will try anything, or give any excuse, to jump the queue at the check-out till.
- The definition of the “express queue” varies from supermarket to supermarket – 4 cartons of milk and 8 yogurts may be considered as 2 items rather than 12.
- Self-service check-outs are becoming more popular. Shufersal has them. Osher Ad has a digital services, the shopper scans each item and special checkouts, determine that all items are accounted for. Once that is done, your bill is calculated and payment is made.
- You can buy groceries by installment at the big supermarkets. At Rosh Hashanah and Pesach you can generally get between 6-10 interest-free payments.