Strauss Group

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Strauss Group Ltd.
IndustryFood processing, beverages
Founded1933; 86 years ago (1933)
FounderRichard & Hilda Strauss
Eliyahu Fromenchenko (Elite)
Mara Moshvitz (Elite)
HeadquartersPetah Tikva, Israel
Area served
Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America[1]
Key people
Ofra Strauss, Chairwoman
Giora Bardea, Pres./CEO[2]
Shachar Florence, EVP/CFO
Nurit Tal Shamir, SVP HR
ProductsDairy products, coffee, chocolate, Mediterranean dips
RevenueIncrease  8,140 million (2014)
Increase  746 million (2014)
Increase  371 million (2014)
Number of employees
SubsidiariesStrauss Coffee
Strauss Israel
Strauss Water
PepsiCo–Strauss Fresh Dips & Spreads
Richard and Hilda Strauss
Elite factory, Ramat Gan
Strauss-Elite's factory in Nazareth Illit

Strauss Group Ltd. (Hebrew: שטראוס גרופ בע״מ‎), formerly known as Strauss-Elite (שטראוס עלית‎), is among the largest food products manufacturers in Israel. Strauss Group focuses on dairy products, coffee, water, snacks, salads, and dips.[3] Its subsidiary Strauss Coffee is a leading coffee company in Eastern Europe[4] and Brazil.


1918–1933: Candy business in Russia and Latvia[edit]

Eliyahu Fromenchenko (also spelled Fromchenko), a Russian Jew, with his family launched a candy business in 1918 after preparing confections in his home kitchen.[5] Fleeing the economic and political chaos that followed the rise of Communism in the Soviet Union, he moved to Latvia and in 1924 merged into Laima in Riga. In 1933, he sold his stakes in Laima and moved to Mandatory Palestine (nowadays Israel).

1933–2004: Elite[edit]

Fromenchenko immigrated in 1933 to Palestine,[6] bought property in Ramat Gan and opened Elite. Production began in the spring of 1934, with the first product reaching the stores in time for Passover.[7] The most popular brand was Shokolad Para (cow chocolate), whose name came from the image of the cow on the packaging. As the company grew, factories were opened in Safed and Nazareth Illit. In 1958, Elite launched Israel's first coffee company. Its major competition both for chocolates and coffee was Lieber, which it bought out in March 1970.[8] In 1982, Elite launched its popular Pesek Zman line of chocolate bars.[9]

The Israeli snack food market had been traditionally divided by Elite in the sweets market and Osem in the salty market. In 1991, Elite decided to expand by entering the salty snack market by establishing a new factory in Sderot and specifically producing 'Shush', a copy of the Bamba snack, the most popular snack in Israel made by Osem. Elite became the local licensee of Frito-Lay products, producing the best-selling brand 'Tapuchips'. Later, Elite started selling coffee outside of Israel, especially in Europe and South America. The initiative, Café 3 Corações, did not reach its objectives, but it signaled Elite's start as an international company.

Elite was labeled a monopoly by the Israel AntiTrust Authority, in the markets of instant coffee, black coffee and chocolate fields,[10][11] and blamed for abusing its monopoly position. In 2006, Elite–Strauss paid a fine of 5 million NIS to without admitting guilt.

1936–2004: Strauss[edit]

Richard and Hilda Strauss, German Jews from Nieder-Olm immigrated in 1936 to Nahariya, British Mandate of Palestine and started a dairy farm with initially two cows. Excess production that Richard couldn't sell was made into cheese by Hilda and soon cheese became the main focus of the business. Desert products followed. In the 1950s Strauss added ice cream products, with about 50 employees in their Nahariya factory.

In 1969, after Groupe Danone purchased a part of the company's ownership, Strauss expanded from ice cream manufacture and to puddings and other individual packaged dairy desserts, most popular of which was "Dani" and about 15 years later, "Milky". In 1975, Michael Strauss, son of the founders, became the CEO of the company.

In 1995, the company went into the prepared salads business. The Strauss hummus brand, "Achla", became very popular in Israel. In 1997, the company purchased 50% of the ownership of the Yotvata dairy. The same year, Strauss purchased Elite and grew to over 7000 employees and a US$1 billion/year turnover (though the formal merger between the companies occurred only in 2004).

In 2001, Ofra Strauss, Michael's daughter, became the CEO of the company. That same year it acquired the Max Brenner chain of chocolate cafes with location across Asia, Australia and the United States.[12]

Strauss was labeled by the Israel Antitrust Authority as a monopoly in 2004,[13] a status that essentially places the company under government regulation limiting the way it can change the price of its products to protect the consumer and smaller competitors.

2004–2007: Strauss–Elite[edit]

Strauss and Elite merged in 2004 under the name "Strauss–Elite".

In 2005, Strauss–Elite acquired control of the New York-based Sabra food producing company, which it operates as a joint-venture with Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo).

In December 2005, Strauss–Elite merged its coffee activity with Santa Clara Indústria e Comércio de Alimentos in Brazil. The merged company, Santa Clara Participações, is the second largest coffee manufacturer in Brazil.

In 2007, the company was renamed to Strauss.

Since 2007: Strauss Group[edit]

Strauss Ice Cream is not included in the Strauss Group portfolio and has remained under private ownership, with 51% of the company owned by Unilever, and 49% owned by the Strauss family. Strauss ice creams are marketed under Unilever's Heartbrand in Israel and North America.

Strauss Group sold the Max Brenner brand in 2017.

Strauss family timeline[edit]

Strauss Dairy and General Milestones[edit]

  • 1936 – Hilda and Dr. Richard Strauss leave Nazi Germany and arrive with their 2-year-old son Peter-Michael to Jaffa port of British Mandate Palestine.
  • 1937 – Residing in Nahariya They buy 2 cows and plant vegetables and crops to start their family business.
  • 1939 – Sell the already 20-cow cowshed and buys Dairy in Nahariya. Milk provided by neighboring Kibbutzim
  • 1955–1958 – Michael Strauss studies milk techinicancy in Weizmann Institute, Switzerland and Milkana in Ulm, Germany
  • 1959 – Due to financial difficulties Israeli Finance Minister Sapir confirms a loan
  • 1960 – Michael imports to Israel the Gervais cheese
  • 1962 – Signs a knowhow and royalties agreement with the French Gervais company
  • 1965 – Gervais merges with Danone
  • 1967 – Michael wins 3 awards in Israel food exhibition – for the Camembert cheese, smoked cheese and ice cream
  • 1968 – Strauss wins the most tasty product award
  • 1969 – Partners with DANONE which purchases 28% of Strauss shares. Partnership continues until 1980 when DANONE dismantles it due to Arab Boycott on Israel.
  • 1972 – Builds a new factory in Nahariya and starts production of “Dani”
  • 1979 – markets “Milky”
  • 1983 – Michael awarded with the Israel Industry Prize
  • Mid 1980s – purchases Golan dairies
  • 1987 – Michael appointed head of the food division in the industrialists association
  • 1995–1998 – Strategic partnerships (Uniliver 1995. Danone 1997, PepsiCo Frito-Lay 1998) and purchases (15% of Elite shares, 50% of Yotvata dairies, Coffee factories in Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey)
  • 1998–2000 – assimilation of acquisitions
  • 2000 – a new dairy opens in Ahihud – the most advanced and biggest dairy in the Middle East
  • 2001 – delivering the Baton to third generation Ofra Strauss
  • 2001–2003 – Purchases Max Brener, Marketing agreement with Lavazza, Partnership with Yad Mordechay, purchases Salats company.
  • 2004 – Strauss and Elite become one company Strauss turns a public company traded in the stock market.
  • 2005 – Purchases Sabra Salads Company and entering North America market. Purchase MK Polish coffee company, merging with Brazilian ‘Santa Clara” coffee
  • 2006 – Launches Sabra in the USA and purchase of Carousels via Sabra
  • 2008 – Partnership with PepsiCo for developing and selling of dips and spreads in the American market
  • 2010 – inaugurates the salads factory in Virginia, the largest salads factory in worldwide. TARI Extends activity to Western Europe, Serbia, Brazil, Mexico and Australia
  • 2013 – becoming one company – Sabra-Obela
  • 2016 – purchases German Coffee Factory NDKW Norddeutsche Kaffeewerke GmbH
  • 2017 – re-purchases TPG shares in Strauss Café

Strauss Ice Cream[edit]

  • 1940 – Hilda experiments ice cream recipes and finds the Strauss recipe. Strauss ice cream would later become its iconic product. Richard purchases a milk pasteurization machine Raya Strauss is born
  • 1945 Hilda’s ice cream takes part in food exhibition in Tel Aviv
  • 1949 Strauss ice cream on the market
  • 1962 Leasing Ice Cream factory in Akre, production of Exodus and Tilon ice cream
  • 1968 Strauss Ice Cream wins best ice cream award
  • 1978 Strauss is the leading Israeli ice cream manufacturer
  • 1979 Strauss purchases Witman ice-cream
  • 1991 Strauss establishes the Blue moon ice cream parlors
  • 1995 July - A fire in the ice cream factory
  • 1995 September – Unilever purchase 50% of the ice cream company
  • 1996 Merging into Strauss Icecream Ltd
  • 2014 Unilever full ownership of Strauss icecream

Strauss Salads[edit]

  • 1990 Purchase of MivaMi Salads
  • 1991 Launching “Achla” label Salads
  • 1992 Purchase of Italian Chibby Salads
  • 1995 Inaugurates “Maadaney Olam” salads company
  • 1998 PepsiCo Frito-Lay purchase 50% of Elite Mazon – salty snacks Elite Company
  • 1999 Strategic partnership with PepsiCo
  • 2003 Purchases 50% of ANP salads company
  • 2005 Purchase of Sabra and entering North America
  • 2006 Launches Sabra in the USA and purchase of Carousels via Sabra
  • 2008 Partnership with Pepsico for developing and selling of dips and spreads in the American market
  • 2010 inaugurates the salads factory in Virginia, the largest salads factory in worldwide. TARI Extends activity to Western Europe, Serbia, Brazil, Mexico and Australia
  • 2013 becoming one company – Sabra-Obela

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Archived March 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Hoovers profile".
  5. ^ Parting with Ramat Gan's Elite landmark is sweet sorrow
  6. ^ The murder of the Jews in Latvia: 1941–1945 By Bernhard Press
  7. ^ Strauss-elite history
  8. ^ Parting with Ramat Gan's Elite landmark is sweet sorrow
  9. ^ "Pesek Zman". Strauss Group. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  10. ^ "The ynet article stating that Elite is a monopoly in the fields of instant coffee and black coffee" (in Hebrew).
  11. ^ "The ynet article stating that Elite is a monopoly in the field of chocolate" (in Hebrew).
  12. ^ "Strauss Group". Dun & Bradstreet. 2010. Archived from the original on June 20, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  13. ^ "The Nfc article stating that Strauss is a monopoly" (in Hebrew).

External links[edit]