In an effort to fight the growing consumer boycott, Strauss Israel CEO Zion Balas conceded on Wednesday that a few of the company's products are priced lower abroad than in Israel, in an attempt to penetrate the foreign market and increase the company's export business.
According to Balas, these products make up only a fraction of the goods the company sells abroad – most of which are priced higher than in Israel.
Ever since a Facebook photo exposed a significant gap in the price of the Pesek Zman candy bar sold in the US and its price in Israel, consumer protest groups have grown to include over 16,000 supporters.
Strauss, which manufactures the candy bar, reacted to the protest with a variety of explanations, the most recent being that the price gap is limited only to a few products, and is not as significant as it is claimed.
Early in the crisis, Strauss said that retailers in the US priced down certain products due to surplus, causing the gap. Later, the comany claimed that the special Purim sales in supermarkets in Jewish communities in the US were accountable for the difference. Both responses were not received well by consumers.
But on Wednesday Strauss admitted that there are a few products that are priced lower abroad than in Israel for promotion purposes, insisting that makes up an insignificant portion of the overall products sold abroad.
According to Strauss, its products in the US are 20% more expensive than in Israel. Only 12-13 items are priced in a 5%-15% lower. These inlcude mainly candy bars, and the revenue from these products is modest compared to the company's overall profit – only a few million NIS, according to Strauss.
When asked if the company will lower its prices, Balas answered: "We will not lower prices any more. Since the beginning of the protest, Strauss has permanently cut the prices of over 50 products. We have reached a red line.
"One of our priorities is to ensure the welfare of our workers. Social justice is not only measured in low prices, we have to take care of our employees," he added. Balas expressed his disappointment that the consumers did not notice the company's attempts to respond to the public demands.
A group called "Israel is expensive" dismissed Balas' plea, arguing the compnay could lower prices and that it "profits on account of the Israeli consumer with its overpriced products."
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