Hagal Hayarok - The first vegan supermarket chain in Israel
The wait for an entirely vegan supermarket chain is over.
Hagal Hayarok, Israel’s first vegan supermarket, is now open for running in - a significant milestone in the vegan revolution in Israel.
The message brought by Hagal Hayarok to the world of vegan consumers is nothing short of historic: the chain has been established according to a unique model, aiming to make veganism accessible to the general public, and provide a culinary shopping experience that is 100% vegan, involving all the senses. The first store, which officially opened at the beginning of July, is situated in the Carmel market and covers an area of 100 m². It is planned to be the first in a new and groundbreaking retail chain based on vegan products, offering a “safe home” for vegans wanting to be confident that the product they are buying contains no animal components, and preferring not to have to shop at a number of stores.
Safe Home for the vegan community
Hagal Hayarok was inspired by Veganz, a leading German supermarket chain, which has branches in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, and 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. We require suppliers to carry out stringent inspections, and to undertake only to bring products that accord with the principles of veganism. We check that the product meets the requirements and definitions of veganism before introducing it into to our stock. Stores across Israel, without exception, offer vegan products together with products that are not vegan. The new “Vegan Label” of Hagal Hayarok will enable customers to be 100% certain that the product is vegan.
Fair trade with soul players
Another element in the vegan revolution of Hagal Hayarok – fair and reasonable prices, and in many product categories - even significantly cheaper than prices in the market. Veganism is perceived as a costly form of nutrition, mainly because the competitors 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 is expressed not only in fair prices, but also in 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: to gather them in and offer them a home, and even more, a business opportunity that the regular chains and stores do not provide - ice creams, flours, bourekas, pies, all the products that are hard to find in the health stores and marketing chains, if at all - in order to increase the range and support local production.
A vegan culinary funfair
The supermarket is a culinary funfair, with a range of vegan products that have never before been seen in Israel. It carries some 4000 vegan products: cheese substitutes, meat substitutes, grains and pulses, sauces, preserves, spices, superfood products (various seaweeds, adzuki beans, frozen acai), special gluten-free flours, and more… With a wide range of “soul suppliers” and its own private label brand, Hagal Hayarok offers an exciting, vegan culinary experience of colors, flavors, and smells from around the world – vegan Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian), Italian, Ethiopian, Mexican, Israeli, American, and so much more.
A wide range of products will be on offer under the Hagal Hayarok private label, produced by the Black Hebrew community in Dimona, who lead the field of veganism in Israel. The private label products cannot be found anywhere else: 8 kinds of ice cream, soy cheeses, baked goods, pies, pastrami, and special products based on tofu and seiten (a parent product resembling and tasting like meat, based on wheat protein) – for example, hamburger, meatballs, shawarma. Alongside the range of food products, the leaders of Hagal Hayarok also intend to offer a range of consumer goods and beauty products containing no animal-based ingredients –cosmetic series and fashion products.
Tasty vegan, that’s what it’s about
The third principle behind Hagal Hayarok is expressed in the slogan “Tasty vegan, that’s what it’s about”: The usual impression of vegan food is that taste is less important than health. Hagal Hayarok starts from a love of vegan cuisine, and emphasizes: “We don’t only sell you products, we also teach you how to enjoy vegan food at home”. Hagal Hayarok not only makes the vegan world and the shopping experience accessible, but also teaches how to use the products to prepare tasty food, making professional knowledge available – cooking techniques, recommended dishes and menus. “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.
“In addition to the confidence that every product is vegan, customers also benefit from practical know-how in producing the best flavors and the greatest enjoyment from the product. Before any item is introduced, there is a tasting process that also includes cooking with the product, to ensure that it is tasty and to prepared instructions for use based on experience, and not just on theory.”
Veganism in Israel
The vegan lifestyle is gaining momentum in Israel, and with size comes consumer power. It is estimated that 5% - 7% of the food consumption market is vegan (300,000 to 500,000 vegans), with numbers increasing sharply as of five years ago, and growing steadily. Many vegan restaurants have opened in recent years, and more restaurants have a vegan menu, or at least vegan dishes on the menu. Vegan hamburger is one of the most common dishes in the country. The big food manufacturers have not remained indifferent to the growing community, and have begun “veganizing” and adapting their products to suit the needs of food without animal ingredients.
About the entrepreneurs
Rafael Avraham and Eylon Zakzer, founders of the chain: “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.”
About the entrepreneurs:
Eylon Zakzer – importer and distributor of food products to the institutional market (hotels, catering, banqueting halls and gardens. The company has been in operation for more than 20 years, and is considered to be a leading supplier in the field. In recent years, Eylon has become the father of a vegan child, and has led to the vegan revolution in the institutional market, specializing in veganism and developing a product line enabling his customers to offer a rich and top-quality vegan menu.
Rafael Avraham – has considerable managerial, chain, and retail experience. Rafael underwent a deep, personal experience, continuing to this day, in connection with the vegan lifestyle. Rafael is a culinary authority, and an admired, talented and creative cook who combines expertise in ethnic cooking and popular home cooking with freestyle and creative gourmet fusion.
I came to "Hagal Hayarok" first store at "Carmel Market" Tel Aviv, and was really impressed by the great variety of products.
Here are some pictures I took there:
Hagal Hayarok – the first vegan supermarket.
The first store in the Carmel market, 50 Hacarmel St. Tel Aviv
Sunday to Thursday 9 am – 8 pm, Friday 9 am – 4 pm.
Hagal Hayarok Facebook page
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