It seems that American’s love affair with the Bagel are over. Low-carb diet fettish has proven that people want skinny legs and not skinny onion sticks. They want flat abs, not round everything’s. What will become of an America denuded of bagels? Where will hungry Jews have brunch? Could it be that this is the sign of the impending implosion of Jewish culture, or is it just a phase in the muti-faceted evolution of Jewish life in America? After 350 years here, are we finally losing our grip on the American palate? Is this perhaps a sign that Atkins was an anti-Semite?
Well I am sad to say that I donât think we can pin this decline on anything so insidious, much as I would love to. It is not just an inconvenience that is being literally taken away from Jewish communities nation-wide, but a whole generation of youngsters are growing up with bagel-free brunches, G-d forbid. They serve low-carb bagel alternatives like wraps, heaven help us! Can you imagine a child who thinks that Bubie and Zayde came over from the old world packing lox and cream-cheese wraps?
I am more than nostalgic. I am a freaking bagel lover, and this watershed in Jewish history should not go unnoticed. Is it a coincidence that declining bagel sales correspond to the rise in inter-marriage? That Birthright was born at a time of declining bagel sales?
It all started when bagelers, Noah, Einstein, and otherâs sold their homemade bagel chains to multi nationals. The chains introduced such soft fluffy sickening flavored bagels, that it is no wonder that American is rejecting them! The bagels became glamorous buns with little taste or chew. The whole was filled up to make them more sandwich=friendly. They were being sold with meat and cheese fillings, by mega-corps, looking to squeeze every last dime our of the biz, without regard for product quality or customer satisfaction.
This Rise and Fall of the Bagel Empire is a tragic occurrence, to those sensitive enough to feel the reverberations throughout the Jewish world. America will never be the same. And either will my brunch.
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Bagels are big biz. America ate over a half-billion dollars worth of just the top five market brands. That does not include retail bagels and in-house bagels. The numbers reached over a billion dollars in bagels.
Now the decline of the bagel is underway.
In the 1990âs Bageling was still a great investment. “Building a better bagel” by Margaret Littman in Bakery Production and Marketing, Vol. 32, No. 2 (February 15, 1997), quotes industry experts, that the bagel market is not near its saturation point. âAccording to the American Bagel Association, bagel consumption was 26 bagels per person in 1996. This is an increase from 1993 consumption figures of 14.2 bagels per yearâ?
Bagel Statistics for 2004
2004 Bagel Statistics
Top Ten Fresh Bagel Brands
Brand Dollar Sales Pounds
1)Thomas 161,591,648 55,901,992
2)Sarah Lee 84,156,336 29,923,414
3)Private Label 63,504,364 34,907,744
4)Lenders 31,613,710 11,794,987
5)Earth Grains 24,357,704 9,232,786
Top Ten Frozen Bagel Brands
Brand Dollar Sales Unit Sales
1)Lenders $95,695,872 73,441,976
2)Lenders other 23,950,2244 15,506,581
3)Private Label 15,481,805 14,108,963
4)Pepperidge 3,832,686 1,338,521
5)Bagels Forever 2,370,845 2,911,556
Top Five Bagel Brands
Category sales of $447.2 (million)
4)Lenders Bagel Shop
5) Earth Grains