JTA — Couscous lovers who frequent the grocery store Trader Joe’s may have noticed a change in the grain aisle: The chain’s brightly colored purple boxes of “Israeli Couscous” are now simply known as “Pearl Couscous.”

The Nosher, a sister website to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, first reported the label change after word of it spread on the popular Facebook group Kosher Trader Joe’s.

The move raised questions in the group about whether Trader Joe’s was trying to distance itself from Israel, a move that some companies have made for political reasons.

But a spokesperson for the company said it “recently switched to a new supplier for this product and it is now sourced domestically rather than from Israel.” The product itself hasn’t changed, according to The Nosher’s report.

Trader Joe’s carries a host of ingredients and products associated with Israeli cuisine. The company sources its date syrup, called silan in Hebrew, from Belgium and its tahini, a Middle Eastern staple, from Greece.

But its Bamba, both regular and chocolate-filled, is sourced from Israel and bears the kosher certification of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Even if the pearl couscous itself is no longer sourced directly from Israel, the method by which it’s prepared is historically Israeli (and is not actually couscous, a semolina product that is North African in origin).

The pearl-shaped “ptitim” wheat product came about during a period of intense rationing in Israel in the 1950s, when the country was seeing an influx of more than 700,000 new immigrants.

Under orders by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, local food manufacturer Osem created a baked wheat-based alternative to rice, unlike its semolina-based “traditional” couscous cousins from North Africa.

I'm proud to cover Israeli arts and culture for The Times of Israel. My beat shows 'the other side' of life here, with inspiring artists of all stripes -- musicians, painters and writers, chefs and winemakers, filmmakers and screenwriters.

Israelis' creative spirit somehow thrives despite all the obstacles this tiny nation has faced. I'm privileged to share these fascinating stories with ToI readers and listeners, increasing your awareness of the remarkably vibrant Israeli arts community.

Your support, through The Times of Israel Community, helps us to continue providing surprising, impressive stories like mine to readers around the world. Will you join our Community today?

Thank you,

Jessica Steinberg, Arts & Culture Editor

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - Trader Joe’s drops ‘Israeli’ from its pearl couscous name, citing supplier change - Andrew Lapin
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Trader Joe’s drops ‘Israeli’ from its pearl couscous name, citing supplier change

12 3 1
08.10.2022

JTA — Couscous lovers who frequent the grocery store Trader Joe’s may have noticed a change in the grain aisle: The chain’s brightly colored purple boxes of “Israeli Couscous” are now simply known as “Pearl Couscous.”

The Nosher, a sister website to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, first reported the label change after word of it spread on the popular Facebook group Kosher Trader Joe’s.

The move raised questions in the group about whether Trader Joe’s was trying to distance itself from Israel, a move that some companies have made for political reasons.

But a spokesperson for the company said it “recently switched to a new supplier for this product and it is now sourced domestically rather than from Israel.” The product itself hasn’t changed, according to The Nosher’s report.

Trader Joe’s carries a host........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play