Tel Aviv… With nearly 70% of Israelis (including non-Jews) preferring kosher products, sales of kosher certified products are approaching $11 billion. A new report by the Foreign Agriculture Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, notes that Israelis also prefer imported kosher foods, which in 2009 was valued at $1.8 billion out of $14.4 billion in overall food sales. The report, prepared by the FAS offices in Tel Aviv and Cairo, notes that private label is still very much on the ground floor in Israel. It estimates that only 5% of products sold in Israel are private label products with the Shufersal supermarket marketing 1100 such products. The Israel food industry continues to be known for its innovation, introducing 3000 new products annually. Approximately 6500 grocery stores serve Israel’s 7.4 million people who on average spend about $7100 for food annually. While 56% of Israelis shop in supermarkets, the country also has 470 convenient stores. Israelis are eating out more than ever, to the tune of $2.7 billion. Despite being technologically advanced, only 1% of Israelis shop on the Internet for food. FAS says that the appetite of Israelis for imported foods is an opportunity for kosher food manufacturers and distributors from abroad, particularly the US. Amongst the foods Israelis could use more of, says FAS, is dried fruits, fresh apples and pears, cereals, powdered milk, and frozen vegetables. It also took note of the country’s growing interest in organic foods.