Tel Aviv gets first vegan supermarket

Rafael Avraham, Eylon Zakzer photo: Ligraf Design

Hagal Hayarok entrepreneurs Eylon Zakzer and Rafel Avraham plan a chain of supermarkets around Israel. 

Hagal Hayarok, Israel’s first vegan supermarket, is now open in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market. The 100 square meter store, the first in a planned chain of stores around Israel, is intended to make veganism accessible to the general public, and provide a culinary shopping experience that is 100% vegan.

The people behind the venture are Eylon Zakzer, who has run an importer and distributor of food products to the institutional market (hotels, catering, banqueting halls) for more than 20 years, and Rafael Avraham, who has managerial experience in retailing and is also a recognized and versatile cook. Both are committed vegans.

Hagal Hayarok was inspired by Veganz, a leading German supermarket chain, which has branches in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. It is the only business in Israel that is “safe” for vegans, and a signatory to a charter of commitment to veganism. All suppliers of the chain will sign a veganism charter for suppliers.

A further element of Hagal Hayarok's concept is fair prices. Veganism is perceived as a costly form of nutrition, mainly because retailers relate to vegan customers as a captive audience and increase their profit margins on many products, significantly beyond normal retail margins. The fair price strategy will leverage the considerable experience of the entrepreneurs in the retail field and the professional market for the customer, and will offer exclusive and top quality products under a private label, with no middleman.

The fair trade approach also covers the relationship with vegan suppliers and producers, who are under pressure from the large chain stores. Hagal Hayarok has made it a mission to embrace these “soul producers”, who are not given shelf-space in the supermarkets. A wide range of products will be on offer under the Hagal Hayarok private label, produced by the Black Hebrew community in Dimona, which leads the field of veganism in Israel. The supermarket carries some 4,000 vegan products from around the world.

The third principle behind Hagal Hayarok is expressed in the slogan “Tasty vegan, that’s what it’s about”. “Our deep culinary understanding and our ability to extract maximum taste and pleasure from every dish are put across to the consumer, emphasizing the correct use of each product, the right combination of products, and choosing the right product for the customer’s use and needs," the entrepreneurs say.

The vegan lifestyle is gaining momentum in Israel, and vegan foods now account for an estimated 5-7% of the food consumption market. Many vegan restaurants have opened in recent years, and more restaurants offer vegan dishes. The big food manufacturers have not remained indifferent to the growing community, and have begun “veganizing” products to suit the needs those looking for food without animal ingredients.

“We are proud of the new venture, which will make veganism accessible, initially in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, and later in other towns around Israel. The unique concept will give peace of mind to the vegan consumer, and no less importantly – a culinary experience that will open up new worlds of tastes and smells to home cooks. We believe that Hagal Hayarok will become a retail culinary institution, bringing a different culinary experience of top quality, vegan raw materials, all under one roof and at fair prices,” Avraham and Zakzer said.

The Carmel Market store, at 50 Hacarmel Street, is open Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 8 pm, and on Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 11, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Rafael Avraham, Eylon Zakzer photo: Ligraf Design
Rafael Avraham, Eylon Zakzer photo: Ligraf Design
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