Students plan boycott of Osem, Tnuva

After forcing Shufersal Ltd. to reduce prices on 30 products, food manufacturers are now being targeted by students.

By ILANIT HAYUT/GLOBES
September 6, 2011 23:06
3 minute read.
Students plan boycott of Osem, Tnuva

Tnuva milk bags 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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After forcing Shufersal Ltd. to reduce prices on 30 products, food manufacturers are now being targeted by students.

The Tel Aviv University Student Union decided to call a new boycott against one of the food manufacturers, apparently Tnuva Food Industries Ltd. or Osem Investments Ltd. (controlled by Nestle) and is currently making last minute preparations before the announcement.

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“We very much hope to reduce prices in one of the departments: milk, cereal or another product,” Tel Aviv University Student Union chairman Ran Livneh told Globes.

Globes: Will the boycott focus on the entire manufacturer, or on certain products?

Livneh: “I believe that the boycott will be against the manufacturer as a whole, but in a way that will offer the consumer alternatives. If we take Tnuva, for example, we will call upon consumers to buy competing products, even if they are also garbage. The idea is that once the manufacturer will lower prices, and as a result will receive positive feedback, then all the other manufacturers will follow suit and lower their prices.”

Why then are you not announcing your decision now?

“We want to finish preparations and then begin the boycott in an organized fashion. We are planning a consumer boycott the likes of which has never been seen in the State of Israel.”

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Have any of the food manufacturers contacted you?

“No comment.”

Is this an initiative of the Tel Aviv University Student Union on its own?

“All of the student unions met last night, and I believe they will join us.”

Are you in sync with the cottage- cheese boycott leaders?

“Yes. Not yet fully, but we are working on this and we speak together almost daily.”

Will this be a joint initiative?

“I hope so, and I believe that we will know how to join forces for this initiative.”

In some form or another, some of the manufacturers have already begun preparing for the boycott, and at least one of them has approached the student union in an attempt to reach an agreement before a boycott is declared.

A Student Union member told Globes: “We do not intend to stop the boycott unless a manufacturer offers us extremely significant discounts. Any chain or supplier that reduces prices will be applauded by the Israeli public.”

The cottage-cheese protest leaders welcome the new initiative, but Ya’acov Lavi warned: “We will be the consumer watch dogs, and we welcome all boycotts. On the other hand, we will make sure that the consumer receives real results from the boycott and that no deals are closed or agreements made or understandings signed with any company. They are joining other preexisting boycotts. A boycott against Tnuva already exists, as well as against Materna. Each group of people that can stand up and do something – we welcome.”

Meanwhile, cottage-cheese leaders stressed that the boycotts against Shufersal Ltd. and the Mega grocery store chains are alive and kicking.

“The boycott is operative,” Lavi said. “What kind of question is that? People are talking about it, and I believe that it will be felt. People do their grocery shopping wherever it is cheapest, and we encourage them to compare prices. However, the large chains encourage a lack of competition by continuously opening new branches, and so we are boycotting them until after the holidays. The boycott against Shufersal and Mega will encourage the lowering of prices.”

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