The Big Felafel



Guide to supermarket shopping online in Israel

supermarket-sweep

Going to the supermarket in Israel is a bit like Supermarket Sweep – only without the fun trivia and prizes. You have to be in top shape to fend off the line cutters at the poultry section and then the line holders (“I’ll be right back, just save my spot”) at the checkout. You also have to endure waiting on line for at least 20 minutes at the checkout– and that’s only if the person in front of you opts out of buying cigarettes at the last minute. And, if you forgot an item at the last minute, you have to run, literally sprint, to get it so that the person behind you in line doesn’t explode in anger.

Last time I was in the US, I was amazed that a trip to the supermarket could be a quick in and out experience. In Israel, there’s never even a quick “in” – what with the bag checks, rummaging for the 5 shekel coin to unlock the mystery that awaits within your cart, and finally making your way in through all the outside “deals” that try to distract you from sticking to your shopping list. And, there’s certainly no quick “out” with maybe one express lane, if you’re lucky, and my experience has shown that no matter which line I pick, there is always some sort of hold up – a coupon that’s not valid, a price check on an item, a last-minute delivery decision, etc.

Let’s just say that the Israeli supermarket shopping experience is not exactly a calming experience.

The best part of going to the supermarket is the hope that there will be free samples and good deals (since there is no circular to let you know of deals ahead of time). Depending on which supermarket you go to, you may see people sampling the olives, pickles, raisins, walnuts, and anything else that is not safely guarded behind plastic. In this hilarious episode from the Israeli TV show, Ramzor, Eyal tries to eat as many free samples as he can in the supermarket… and gets caught! See what lengths he’ll go to continue enjoying free samples.  Also in this episode, Hefer tries to cancel his TV subscription but gets unbelievable offers, anything to keep him from cancelling.

After having a baby in October, I realized that if I ever want something from the supermarket, the only way I’ll be able to get it is if I order online, even if it means foregoing free samples.  At first, I was really intimidated by having to shop online in Hebrew, but after a little while, I started to get the hang of it. Most of these sites let you keep previous orders so you can just re-order many of the same things, which saves a lot of time.

Here are all the online supermarket sites in Israel, although the only one I’ve tried so far is Shufersal Yashir.

Shortly after writing this, an article came out in Yediot Achronot comparing the different online supermarkets: Shufersal, Mega, Rami Levi and MisterZol. The winner for every grouping of assorted items was Rami Levi.

shufersal

ShuferSal Yashir

I saw that Shufersal Yashir (I always thought it was SuperSol until I saw their website)  was giving 200 shekels (25 shekels for each purchase x 8 purchases) to new online shoppers, so I decided to give it a try. And I was hooked. I ordered in the morning, and could decide when I wanted to receive the delivery – the same day or the next day. Click click click and a few hours later all the heavy stuff I ordered was magically at my doorstep.

The prices are definitely a bit higher, but if you spend over 750 shekels, delivery is free.  There are deals online as well so if you shop the deals first, you may only pay a bit more than you would at the store.

The other fun thing about Shufersal Yashir is that they give you 2 random items from the store for free. Sometimes we got really great stuff like a loaf of bread or frozen peas, but sometimes they were really crappy – like grape mix for juice and pizza flavored pretzels. I guess this somewhat compensates for giving up free samples at the supermarket.

The only major drawback of shopping online is not being able to choose my own produce, but you can leave notes on the site like “un-ripe only” and they do a pretty good job of bringing you what you request. I found the user interface on the website easy to use and the search functionality really helpful.

Delivery price: 28 NIS. Free for orders over 750 NIS   29 NIS. 10 NIS for orders over 750 NIS.
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.
Payment options: local Israeli and international credit cards

 

ramilevy

Rami Levy

Rami Levy recently rolled out a new website for ordering your groceries online but with one major problem – they’re rolling out their new service painfully slowly, starting with trial runs in the Tel Aviv area only. Who knows when they’ll get to Jerusalem Sad smile. Rami Levy has the reputation of having the cheapest prices so I am definitely waiting til they come to my area.

Delivery price: 24.95 NIS
Delivery area: Tel Aviv area

logo_mega

Mega

Mega has a very photo-rich site, but is usually more expensive than the other supermarkets. I would be interested in hearing feedback from people who have used Mega online.

Delivery price: 28 NIS.
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.
Payment Options: Israeli credit cards and PayPal!

 

Mister Zol B’click 

Currently the Homepage isn’t showing deals, although there is a link to get to them, but already that gives me a bad feeling about the usability of the site. It looks like this is a relatively new site as the FAQ section still has “Question 1 and Answer 1”. According to an article recently in Yediot Achronot, Mister Zol didn’t have very good customer service – the writer of the article said he had to call 3 times before he got through to someone, and even then the customer service wasn’t very helpful.

 

Delivery price:  26 NIS for orders up to 250 NIS. 20 NIS for orders over 250 NIS
Delivery area:  Probably most cities in Israel, but I can’t click on the link to check delivery areas.

makolet

MyMakolet

I like looking around at the site because it makes me nostalgic for the US…they even have Shoprite brand cereals! Too funny.

What makes this site unique is that everything is in English.

The website says they will call for your credit card number and don’t process the credit card through the internet. I thought the whole point of eCommerce was to put your credit card online but maybe this is comforting to some people (not so comforting to me… where are they storing this sensitive info?).

So what happens with the second purchase? Do you have to call each time? Do they call you?

I also found the user interface on the site not very intuitive.

Delivery price: 20 NIS
Delivery area: Only Jerusalem

 

yashir

Yashir4u

Located in Bnei Brak, Yashir4u doesn’t seem to have lots of brands I’m using to seeing at the local supermarket. Maybe it’s because they only sell Mehadrin products. The prices seem to be much cheaper than Shufersal Yashir.

Delivery price: Free for orders over 500 NIS
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.

 

superbaba

SuperBaba – for the Tel Aviv area only. Looks like a brand new site. I clicked on “Deliveries” and the text says “text related to deliveries” Ha!

 

The only question remaining is – will the Shuk Mahane Yehuda follow the trend and go online?! Will the website include screaming vendors and flies buzzing  to replicate the true experience of the shuk?

Where do you like to go shopping? Where do you find the best deals?

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  1. Grocery shopping in Israel: updates from the blogosphere « couponing in the holy land pingbacked on 5 years, 9 months ago

Comments

  1. * Michal says:

    I have used Mega online and I was pleasantly surprised with their customer service. They messed up my order once and they took care of it within 24 hours. If I ordered something that they didn’t have in stock they called me to offer me an alternative within an hour of me putting through my order. Things were a little more expensive but the produce was great, the special offers are on things I would normally order. So overall impressed.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  2. * Ruth says:

    YOu ask in jest if Machane Yehuda will go online too – well, citydirect.co.il do your shopping for you at the shuk. It’s not shuk prices, but whenever I used them, they brought good quality produce. They do fruit & veg, meat and fish at the shuk, groceries at superdeal, and baked goods from 2 bakeries.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  3. * Daniel says:

    supermart.co.il is also a great online supermarket which delivers to Beit Shemesh for over 250 shekels

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  4. * Naomi says:

    I’ve used mega online for a year now since my daughter was born, and now i work full time it is a lifesaver. It is pricey, but it is so easy to use, reliable and the customer service is great, not words I normally associate with an Israeli company!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  5. * Debbie says:

    I also started using Shufersal Yashir recently and it is a great service. I always so i dont want replacement products and they always call to tell you what is not in stock to see if you want something else, but I have found that if you miss the call, even if you call straight back, it is too late to discuss it with them. A few times i have got the wrong things and I can never be bothered to follow up with them to get the right things!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
    • * Rebecca says:

      Debbie, it’s so true about them calling about replacements. I forgot to mention that in the post. I love when they call – it makes me feel like I have a supermarket at my beck and call. But, if you miss the call forget, I didn’t even call back because I didn’t want to wait on hold.

      Michal and Naomi, thanks for the positive Mega reviews, I’ll have to seriously consider using them for my next order.

      Daniel and Ruth, thanks for the info, I’ll add them to the post.

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  6. * Deena says:

    You describe the Israeli supermarket experience so well. It is one of the reasons I didn’t want to move back to Israel. When I moved back, I figured I’ll just have to never ever go supermarket shopping. Now with online shopping this might be an easier decision to keep.

    But, regarding store shopping, I must tell you that the cheap charedi store I sometimes go to in Jerusalem, Shaarei Ezra (I’m serious!) has the quickest checkout I’ve ever experienced ANYWHERE (including Canada). There is a charedi dude checking the stuff through AND a bagger. Yup. And they practically throw your stuff out the door and give you a kick so you’ll be out of the way for the next customer.

    I am amazed and happy every time.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
    • * Rebecca says:

      Deena, where is Shaarei Ezra?

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  7. * Soshia says:

    I use Mega online all the time and LOVE it! I in general Shop at Mega, and here in Modiin where I live and overall they are not much more expensive than Sufersol they are very comparable! I love the site, the coupons, they have special offers just for online shoppers, and returning online shoppers. Plus i love that i can just go through a list of the things i buy most frequently and just make checks and quickly do my weekly shop! Their customer service is very good too, if you ever need anything exchanged or fixed (which does NOT happen often) they are happy to fix it! Plus sometimes you get presents and free gifts!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  8. * Deena says:

    Shaarei Ezra is on Yirmiyahu. To get there you drive (not that that helps everyone) on Sarei Yisrael to Yirmiyahu. Turn right on Yirmiyahu and then make an immediate right into the parking lot. If you’re looking for it, you’ll see a sign for the place.

    Cover yourself a bit more than you’re used to, and you’re good to go!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  9. * Helen Avital says:

    I have been using the MEGA Website shopping for over 2 months. I am very happy with the service and its not more expensive than SuperSol. The service is great and the products i.e. fruits, vegtables, all milk products are very fresh. The date on the milk products are valid longer than in my regular supermarket and if something is missing or I receive something open or broken, I am informed and the product is exchanged of my money is reimbursed at the next purchase. I am very pleased with their service.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  10. * Sarah says:

    This was so helpful Rebecca! I’ve been using Shufersal Yashir for over a year, but just now decided I was in the mood for a change and googled for other options and got to this post — so good timing. thanks! the citydirect site doesn’t seem to be working right now.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 10 months ago
  11. * Nancy says:

    You put it so well, the supermarket shopping experience is very time consumming..but stopmarkt in the marina in herzleyia is quite good, they deliver and generally have baggers and r helpful. Go during the day to avoid the lines…

    Check out our upcoming website better2ask.com
    for more recommendations from the insiders track to Israel.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 9 months ago
  12. * Joanna says:

    Great post, I can so relate. Going to the supermarket in Israel is one of my least favorite things here.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 4 months ago
  13. * Adina says:

    I just tried the misterzolbeclick site and a note came up that it’s not accessible to the public. This may still be in the trial stages; since so many other supermarkets offer online service, I’m sure they’re getting ready to roll just to keep up w/the competition!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 3 months ago
  14. * Jerry says:

    Has no one tried MyMakolet.com? A couple of months ago i thought id give them a try after repeated miss charges to my credit card from other online stores over here and horrible experiences with customer service(the english was also a huge pull :))….MyMakolet was great!Talk about customer service! You can always get through to them on the phone(supershal is horrible at this!)…..I have been using them ever since. The American products available are a great taste of old home, but i found the regular isreali products online were ready available and relatively the same in price as other stores i shop at…and often cheaper (i couldn’t believe such a staple item like 30 M eggs were cheaper then Osharad!!(25.90 vs 29.99))…
    Being a good Jew i was looking for something to complain about :)…the website could use some work and updating, and my family in Tel Aviv would love them (they are only in Jerusalem and greater Jerusalem now)but aside from that i really couldn’t find much.

    FYI Note-
    I noticed the questions about payment and credit card storage on the main post and wanted to clear it all up for everyone….After you place your first order, one of MyMakolet’s staff contacts you the morning the order is to be delivered to get your credit card details. They ask you then if you would like them to store the credit card on file for future orders or not (in which case they will call you every time for your payment method)….if you choose, the credit cards are kept on a secure data base not connected to the internet (i asked :)).
    Hope this post is of use to future browsers!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 1 month ago
  15. * flowerstar says:

    RE: SHUFERSAL YASHIR
    1. disappointed with the produce they select for me… most definitely NOT grade-A quality. If I place a phone order w/Super HaMoshava, I get incredible produce!
    2. quite often the exp date of dairy products is not far enough ‘into the future’, where I know that if I would purchase elsewhere, i.e., Super HaMoshava, the exp dates are way far ahead.
    3. i have rec’d items that i did not order.
    4. i didn’t receive items that i ordered.
    5. they didn’t call me and ask if they could replace an item i ordered for another item, but went ahead and did it.
    6. their catalog book and their website, depict items which they DO NOT carry… very frustrating! especially, since you can “order” it, but it won’t arrive… and you wonder why… until you call & find out.
    Perhaps, with their new website up & running, things will work more proficiently and there will be less mistakes. I never had the time or patience to phone them to discuss the errors and/or return items that I didn’t want… who has the time for that? I just offered them to my neighbor.
    I, also, find deplorable the amount of cartons they use to pack the merchandise, as most of the cartons are not packed efficiently and are only two-thirds full! Truly a waste – ba’al tashchit… the Hanhalah should be notified about THAT! So, you must be wondering, with all my complaints, why do I continue to use them? They are the most convenient for me… US credit cards, etc. I’m in Jerusalem. If anyone has a better suggestion for a non-citizen with US credit card, I’m all ears. G’mar Chatimah Tovah!

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 8 months ago
    • * Rebecca says:

      Hi Flowerstar,

      I wanted to let you know that I just did a Mega order with a US credit card, so it looks like they updated their system. They send really good coupons like free delivery.
      I’m sorry to hear about the bad produce, I’ve had a mostly positive experience with Shufersal Yashir. As for being in touch with their customer service, if you leave a message on their website, they’re very good about responding quickly.

      | Reply Posted 4 years, 7 months ago
      • * Rebecca says:

        Hi again, turns out Mega just decided to reverse their foreign credit card policy and now don’t accept them again. Sigh.

        Posted 4 years, 7 months ago
  16. * Sarah P. says:

    But Mega does accept Paypal.

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 7 months ago
  17. * Jerry says:

    MyMakolet takes foreign credit cards!!

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 7 months ago
  18. * Ruven says:

    That sounds very good, but when I was sick and wanted to order delivery as I live alone, I was told by Shofersol sheli Nahariya that I had to come there. For that I don’t need them.

    | Reply Posted 3 years, 9 months ago


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