A miracle indeed. Pelephone's mobile phone
Photo: Tnuva PR
Heavily guarded formula. Tvuva's Cottage
Photo: Strauss PR
The king. Strauss' Milky
Photo: Amcor PR
Keeping it cool. Amcor's refrigerator
Photo: Osem PR
Yellow puffs of Israelness. Osem's Bamba
Photo: Telma PR
A unique crunch. Telma's cornflakes
The queen. Elite's Para

We were (almost) there first

Once upon a time, in a land far far away there were no cell phones, cornflakes or chocolate bars. And them some savvy businessmen decided to revolutionized the Israeli market

Cell phones, refrigerators, Cottage cheese – how did we ever live without them? Well, we did – that is until someone decided that wasn't the way to go.


Ynet takes you back to the beginning of modern life as we know it – Israel style.


The miracle phone

Israel's first cellular service provider, Pelephone, was formed in 1986 by Motorola. Keeping in mind that cell phones were a budding global trend at the time, the name was made up of two words – Pele ("wonder") and telephone.


The name soon caught on and became the generic term for cell phones in Israel. Although the company targeted business users first – in an attempt to justify what began as a rather costly service – within seven years, the company had 100,000 subscribers – a substantial leap from the 7,000 subscribers' projections of its humble beginnings.


The first mobile phones were big, bulky devices used only by those who had to. Twenty years on, they have become tiny little things and Israel has become one of the world's record-holders in cell phone-to-person ratio.


Cottage cheese

Tnuva's Cottage cheese was the first ever cheese curd product produced in Israel. Developed for Tnuva by Israel Stauber in the early 1950s, its content and flavor has remained unchanged to this day.  


Cottage was initially marketed in carton containers. The signature plastic ones came some several years later. In 1997, Tnuva re-launched it entire cheese brand and Cottage with it, adding new flavorings and new-sized containers. Cottage also got a baby-brother – Cottage Bio, with added yogurt.


Ironically, when first introduced to Stauber Cottage cheese, Tnuva's management rejected it. Luckily for us, Stauber was a stubborn guy. Today, Tnuva's Cottage is one of the highest selling cheese products out there, and is considered an Israeli staple. It continuously trumps the competition posed by Tara and Strauss' similar products.


Stauber's exact formula, which is said to contain milk, sea salt and calcium, is tucked away in Tnuva's labs under heavy guard, with only a handful of people trusted with the secret.



Strauss' legendary Milky was introduced to the chocolate-licking public in 1979. The refrigerated chocolate, cream-topped dessert was the first of its kind ever produced in Israel. Pending its arrival, Strauss' strongest brand was "Danny".


An instant hit, Milky was joined by a vanilla flavored sibling in 1970. In 1986 Strauss' premiered Milky's first video commercial to Israeli moviegoers. Entitled "Battle of the Milky" the commercial soon became as big a hit as the product itself, later sprouting two sequels - "Battle of the Milky 2" and "Battle of the Milky 3". The actresses taking part in the commercials were known as "the Milky girls" and became an icon in their own right.


Milky's family kept growing, as cappuccino, strawberry and nut cream delights joined the original chocolate and vanilla flavors on supermarket shelves.


Strauss' competitors tried launching several alternatives to it over the years, but there was no knocking Milky of the top. It is still the leading dessert sold is Israel, whipping the competition.



Amcor, the first Israeli refrigerator, was born in 1949. A year earlier, Ampa Ltd, which was the sole importer of refrigerators from the US to Israel, decided to join forces with the Israeli Workers Union and forsake the imports in favor of providing labor for Hebrew hands, thus creating the first Israeli refrigerator factory.


Amcor's refrigerators, which were about a third of their size today, reigned the market until the mid 1950s when Tadiran formed a competing factory in Afula. It the 1980s, in the height of its reign, Amcor's customers had to wait six months for one of the company's cream, olive or mocha-colored refrigerators. The company tried to export refrigerators to Turkey but the attempt backfired of sorts, after it was found that the word "amcor" is a Turkish obscenity.


In 2001 Ampa and Tadiran formed Tadiran-Ampa and relocated Amcor's factory to Afula. In 2006 the company was sold to Crystal. Since the company's induction, it has sold over 2 million units.



One of the strongest brands in the Israeli snack market is Osem's Bamba – a peanut butter-flavored, puffed corn snack considered by many to be the essence of Israeliness. Just in small yellow pieces.


The corn puff had a rough start: Developed in 1964, Bamba began its life as a cheese-flavored snack – which did not agree with the Israeli palate. In an attempt to save the unlucky snack, Osem decided to re-launch it, this time in peanut butter-flavor. The change hit on the mark and Bamba began flying off the shelves.


In 1980 another star was born – red, strawberry flavored Bamba.


In the early 1980s Osem took all the artificial ingredients out of the snack, and later added a multitude of vitamins to the puffed pleasure.


In 1993, Bamba got a new spokesman in the form of a cartoon baby. The adorable character scored legions of fans in all age groups, cementing its status as a pop-icon.


Today every fourth snack sold in Israel is Bamba. It remains the highest selling snack in the country.



The Israeli cornflakes market was nonexistent until 1985, when Telma Foods began marketing the first Israeli cornflakes.


The mid-80s saw a health trend sweep through the country, as more and more people began looking for low-fat, healthier foods outside the vegetable isle.


Telma soon recognized the consumer gap and began developing its new brand with food technologists from the UK: The Israeli cornflake was designed with its future chewer in mind. The result – a thicker, sweeter, crunchier flake.


The success of Telma's cornflakes led the company to develop an array of frosted flakes, introducing Shugi, Pitzi, Coco and the Kariot line. The Israeli cornflakes market experienced a speedy growth, with Osem, Kellogg and Nestle joining in.


Elite's Para chocolate bars

Elite's mythological chocolate bar was born in 1934. Named "Shamnunit" (Plumpy). The beginning was humble – a basic chocolate bar wrapped in simple paper sporting the image of a smiling cow.


For dozens of years, Plumpy was the reigning queen of the Israeli chocolate bar scene. No real competition was out there and the chocolate became synonymous with childhoods memories.


All that changes in the 1980s: Nestle made its Israeli debut and Elite, which realized it had to protect the brand, began investing in some needed publicity. By that time the brand was already renamed "Para" the Hebrew word for cow – in honor of the cover-gracing cow, of course.


The 1990s saw the loveable cow sprout an array of different flavors and fillings and in 2001 the icon began mooing in Hebrew, as Elite launched an ad camping featuring a witty, talking cow. The packaging was revamped and Para became a super-brand, expanding into spreads, snack bars, bonbons and ice-creams.


Para also packed a punch and was able to successfully fight off its competition, especially the international chocolate conglomerate Cadbury.


Elite's Para, with its 20-flavors line, still reigns supreme over all things chocolate bar. 


פרסום ראשון: 04.22.08, 14:59
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