Pita and taboon bread from a family bakery in the Israeli Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye have become a huge hit in supermarkets in Switzerland and Germany, and are about to conquer new markets in France, Spain and the United States.
The "Omar al-Saba" bakery was founded in Baqa al-Gharbiyye in 1985 with one sack of flour and a dream. It made its big breakthrough about 12 years ago, when it successfully penetrated the Jewish market and began selling products to large supermarket chains and hotels – all supervised by the Rabbinate.
About two years ago, the bakery owners decided to expand to foreign markets with the assistance of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute's Tevel program, which helps Arab-owned businesses export their products and services.
"It was a dream for us," says Izdihar Ghanem, one of the company owners. "In accordance with the program, we set up a website and packages and searched for a market abroad. We learned from the Export Institute staff that we must supply the perfect product."
Several months ago, a first delivery left for Switzerland with 28,000 frozen pita breads, which were snatched off the shelves in Swiss cities such as Zurich and Basel. Several weeks later, a shipment arrived in Germany and received a warm welcome there too.
The next destinations are France and Spain and an American supermarket chain which has already ordered tens of thousands of units of pita bread.
"We have received great reactions," concludes Ghanem. "I haven't had a chance to see our pita on European shelves yet, but I really want to. It's very exciting."