July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Costco of Union Kosher Selection Revisited

I paid a follow-up visit to the Union Costco last week to check on their progress in reinstating a significant kosher section. The hope was that Costco would once again stock the store with popular items and products that the average kosher consumer would be likely to purchase. Local kosher consumers used the suggestion box to make their product preferences known, and the management assured this writer that these suggestions would be taken seriously. That was in March. (See this link: http://tinyurl.com/z7pe8te.)

During a tour of the store last week, it was obvious that they had made an effort to consolidate most of the perishable type of kosher products into a couple of refrigerated cases in the back of the store, the same location as in March. The cases were better organized and indeed had a greater variety of products on the shelves. There were more Meal Mart deli products, more cheeses—especially “industrial size” shredded varieties, lots of lox and lots of spreads, but also some of the same obscure items that were stocked previously, and that have a low interest among typical kosher consumers: pierogies, “Love Beets” and triple-flavor sliced cheese party packs. If you like Wholly Guacamole and mango salsa, it’s a good place to stock up.

However, there remains clearly no effort to direct a kosher consumer to this area, and, once you get there, no signage around or over those refrigerator cases that would identify them as housing kosher products. The frozen poultry and fish were unchanged, as previously located and mixed in with other frozen products. The small signs on the poultry were the same, too tiny to read from any distance, and the variety has now been further reduced to the least likely item to sell: Cornish hens. There are no packages of frozen cut-up chicken in fourths or eighths, no thighs with legs or just drumsticks, no boneless skinless breasts, no whole turkeys or regular chickens, etc.

In short, they have not listened to what the consumers said they would buy, and have essentially perpetuated a premise to possibly discontinue carrying kosher poultry—and also possibly based on poor sales of the existing stocked items, which people don’t buy anyway.

Based on what we saw, it is difficult to assess how the effort lines up with the intention. The manager on duty was only minimally familiar with the kosher product offerings, and initially started to say that there wasn’t even a kosher section. Then he amended his response sort of as an afterthought, and directed this writer to the back of the store. It continues to be a lackluster and less-than-friendly approach to a consumer group with significant purchase potential, and who has clarified its wishes and intent.

 

The appearance at this time is that Costco has done all it plans to do, and will continue to phase out products deemed to be of low consumer interest, by their narrow and uninformed test marketing.

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