Consumers in Israel are starting to abandon large supermarket chains for smaller private chains and neighbourhood grocery stores, according to the Food Industries Association, part of the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

In the last 12 months, Israel’s two largest chains, Super-Sol and Blue Square, lost 3% of their aggregate market share to 49%, a reversal of the trend developed over the past few years.

While the big chains lost ground, the smaller ones, especially specialty food chains, gained ground: the steepest climb in the last year was by Russian food chains and grocery stores, which sold 6.7% of all local food products in 2003 compared to 3.5% a year before.