The Broken (Crumbled) Matzo Fallacy?

April 10th, 2012

Who needs Bastiat’s broken windows when you have Streit’s crumbled matzah!

During the eight-day Passover holiday, which ends this week, religious law mandates that all Jews give up any bread product or grain-based food other than matzo. As a result, each spring ushers in a matzo stimulus. And I wondered, as both an economics reporter and a Jew, whether it was good to sell something that about 2 percent of the U.S. population has to buy for one week a year but isn’t all that popular at any other time or with any other group? Can a matzo manufacturer remain profitable this way forever, or like Apple, does it need to eventually reach beyond a group of religious followers and appeal to the mainstream?

According to the marketing firm Lubicom, around $130 million worth of matzo is sold each year. During Passover, about 20 percent of it is sold by Streit’s. Most manufacturers would love to take in around $17 million for a single holiday without needing to invest in new equipment.

I think they call Matzo the bread of affliction because eating it for eight days straight is a acute form of torture. I hate matzo. I hate eating it. I go out of my way during Passover not to eat Matzo (I seldom eat bread usually). But, it becomes very difficult to eat anything else. Take a look at the ingredients in most prepared food, and you will see wheat, soy, or something other thing we can’t eat. OK, rant over. It’s almost Saturday.