Why is Bamba, Israel’s Iconic Snack, Cheaper in America?

You’d pay less for the peanut puff in Trader Joe’s than in Tel Aviv, and Israelis are furious

By Liel Leibovitz|November 2, 2017 9:00 AM

Earlier this week, news broke [1] that supermarket chain Trader Joe’s has begun selling Bamba, Israel’s iconic snack. Some Israelis celebrated the announcement. Others had more concrete questions: How much does Bamba cost in New York?

As it turns out, a lot less than it does in Tel Aviv: As Israeli media reported [2] yesterday, a 3.5 ounce package of Bamba sells for 99 cents at Trader Joe’s, while in Israel consumers will pay $1.14 and more for a smaller, 2.8 ounce package.

Don’t blame us, said Osem, which makes Bamba. The sublime peanut puff, the company explained in a comment, “is a popular product among Israelis living in Europe and the United States. Osem has nothing to do with determining the final prices charged to the consumer. It’s possible that retailers in Israel and abroad will decide from time to time to sell attractive products, like Bamba, at lower prices, in order to attract customers.”

If you find the whole thing trivial, consider the Milky [4]: In 2014, Israelis shopping in Berlin noticed that the popular dairy treat cost considerably less in Germany, and used Facebook to ignite a mass protest movement that called attention to the rising cost of living in Israel and received considerable attention from the media and from public officials.

So if you’re planning on going to Israel some time soon, you may want to pack up a big bag of Bamba and save a few shekels along the way.

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