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Mar 29, 2008 09:01 PM

Shmura matzo prices

With Purim behind us, we now turn our attention (and our pocket books) to Pesach. I noticed ads in both 5 Towns Jewish Times and the Jewish Press advertising hand shmura matzos for $9/lb (KRM Kollel), $8/lb (Goldberg’s). I distinctly remembered seeing both Brachs and Gourmet Glatt charging approx $18/lb!! for smurah matzos. What gives? I understand that matzos, both shmura and machine as being made from flour and water. The price for 18 minute machine matzos is being advertised for $2.19/lb and the machine shmura is going for $4.49/lb. So what would be the difference between the $8/lb and the $18/lb hand shmura matzos?

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  1. That is pretty good - do not know what the difference but here in Chicago we only have it for $16/lb -

    1. Just some conjecture on my part: the cheaper ones may have more broken pieces, more thicker pieces (meaning fewer pieces, and possibly harder to eat), or darker/burnt pieces. I don't know, but I'd find it hard to believe that prices have dropped so much since last year that they'd be down to $8/lb. One other guess it that it's a loss-leader to get you into the store (a product that is sold at a loss in order to attract customers), and it's probably also limited to one box per customer.

      7 Replies
      1. re: queenscook

        Goldberg’s ad says unlimited. I still don't understand the rationalization for $18/lb for flour and water, I find it hard to believe how $8/lb is a "loss" leader, I am sure they are not losing money at $8/lb. The cost of the raw materials is minimal (look at the price of machine matzos to get an idea at the raw material part of the cost equation). As to the cost of labor, the whole process of making matzo must by kashrus definition take less than 18 minutes, and the bakers’ skills are not that demanding to require high paid individuals. If you put the two parts together it is hard to believe that one looses money at $8/lb, not to mention the necessity for $18/lb.

        1. re: MartyB

          While I'm not exactly trying to justify $18/lb, it must be borne in mind that the flour is not Gold Medal off the shelf at a couple of dollars for a 5 lb. bag. This wheat has to be guarded (that's what "shmura" means) from the time of k'tzira (harvesting), so that it doesn't come in contact with any moisture. That must have some pretty high costs associated with it. I don't know how much labor costs, but the kashering of the facilities and the upkeep to clean the work areas and the machinery for all the runs must cost something. But, in the end, we do live in a capitalist society; I suppose if everyone refused to pay these prices, maybe they would come down. Or maybe we'd have to figure out some way to make it ourselves. For the mitzvah of achilas matzah on the first night of Pesach, I guess I'm willing to pay $18/lb pretty happily. It probably doesn't come out to be any more than what I pay for a mass produced candy bar (at close to $1 a bar for a bar of candy that weighs only about an ounce, that too works out pretty close to $18 a pound.)

          1. re: queenscook

            You are missing my point, I see two stores that are selling "hand SHMURA matzos" for $8/lb. My qestion is, what are you getting from the $18/lb matzo that you are missing from the $8/lb hand SHMURA matzo.

            If one believes that they MUST have hand shmura matzo, then the only way to bring the cost down is to go out of your way to buy the cheaper ones. I for one am going to Brooklyn today from the five towns, not to save the $100 that 10 lbs of shmura matzos would net me, but to do my share and not pay what I feel is price gouging, after all, the matzo that one is to eat at the seder is "supposed" to be lechem oni, the bread of the poor. I am sorry, but $18/lb is not in the spirit of lechem oni (to be honest $8/lb is not too much better, but better still).

            1. re: MartyB

              There very well may be no difference in the product, just the price. Why is bottled water from Pathmark cheaper than Dasani? Or Poland Springs? Or Evian? Why is any water that expensive, when tap water is a couple of cents a gallon at best? Why do people pay that either, for that matter? Why is a cup of Starbucks coffee so much more than that somewhere else (I couldn't even guess at costs; I don't drink coffee and have never bought anything from a Starbucks.) Things are worth what people are willing to pay for them. If it is worth what the gas and time (and possible parking costs) will cost you to get to Brooklyn from the five towns, then that is your prerogative, and I say kol ha'kavod to you. For me, even from Queens, that trip would be at least a couple of hours round trip, not to mention the hassles of parking and dealing with the pre-Pesach chaos of Brooklyn, and I'd rather buy local or possible even go out to your neck of the woods--to the Brach's in Lawrence--for one big shopping trip. I used to make myself crazy, comparison shopping at three or four local places, and divide my list up after I had done the initial reconnaissance. Then I realized that my time was worth X dollars an hour, and the time I was spending on the shopping was not worth the dollar or two, or even 10, I was saving. It's all a matter of what you value. It's perfectly fine that you value the "spirit" of what you understand lechem oni to be. I simply don't calculate this the same way you do.

              1. re: queenscook

                What you say is true. Fortunately, both KRM Kollel and Goldberg’s have extreemely low prices so when I go to them for the shmura matzos I plan on doing most of my pesach shopping there as well.

                Check out page 15 in

                1. re: queenscook

                  Just as a quick note, Goldberg’s ad says that they are open 24 hours. It is therefore possible to go there at a time where there is no "pre-Pesach chaos", parking problem, or long commute.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    It is, of course, all marketing. Dasani water IS tap water. Get a filter for you tap water and you can have the same thing for bupkis.

                    Starbuck's coffee does actually have a unique flavour profile, which you may love or hate, but you are not paying for coffee. You are paying for the "privilege" of hanging out at Starbucks.

                    My time is valuable, but $18 matzoh is a gouge.

          2. BS"D

            Prices of It's Delish brand hand Shmura and Chabad shmura are both pretty low in stores in Los Angeles, but my rabbi was actually selling It's Delish Tanur Rishon hand shmura last year for $7/lb. Unfortunately, I had so much from othersources that I only bought 3 lbs of the Tanur Rishon, and had 12 lbs of more expensive stuff from other sources. The best tasting matza, Papa, still is quite expensive here. It's much thinner and is far easier to eat.

            1. Supersol on Main St. in Flushing is selling Israeli hand made Shmura for 14.99/lb

              1. Things are looking better, I just saw that Gourmet Glatt is selling hand shmura matzo for $11.99/lb.

                Supersol is still continuing their tradition of offering SOME excellent prices on some of their meats. As an example they as selling Kosher For Peasch Chicken Cutlets for an amazing $3.39/lb

                My granddaughter had her 3 year old birthday party yesterday and I was supposed to take my mother home to Brooklyn (hence my eye to Brooklyn's prices) but my brother took her home instead, so I didn't shop there yesterday as I planned. If I continue to see some nice prices locally, I may stay here to do my shopping. In the meantime, I will ask a coworker who lives in Boro Park to buy me a pound of one of the cheap hand shmura matzos to see "what the catch is".