Strauss Group Ltd.
IndustryFood processing, beverages
Founded1939; 82 years ago (1939)
FoundersRichard & Hilde Strauss
Eliyahu Fromenchenko (Elite)
Mara Mosevics-Gottlieb (Elite)
HeadquartersPetah Tikva, Israel
Areas served
Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America[1]
Key people
Ofra Strauss, Chairwoman
Giora Bardea, Pres./CEO[2]
Ariel Chetrit, EVP/CFO
Hila Mukevisius, SVP HR
ProductsDairy products, coffee, chocolate, Mediterranean dips, water
RevenueIncrease  5.69 billion (2019)
Increase  878 million (2019)
Increase  594 million (2019)
Number of employees
SubsidiariesStrauss Coffee
Strauss Israel
Strauss Water
PepsiCo–Strauss Fresh Dips & Spreads
Richard and Hilde Strauss
Richard and Hilde Strauss
Elite factory, Ramat Gan
Elite factory, Ramat Gan
Strauss-Elite's factory in Nazareth Illit
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.

The Group has 15,000 employees worldwide, is active in more than 20 countries. Strauss has collaborations with Danone, PepsiCo, Haier and Virgin.


1918–1933: Candy business in Russia and Latvia

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.

1933–2004: Elite

Fromenchenko immigrated in 1933 to Israel,[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 savoury 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, without admission of guilt.

1936–2004: Strauss

Richard and Hilde Strauss, German Jews from Nieder-Olm, immigrated in 1936 to Nahariya in the British Mandate of Palestine and started a dairy farm initially with two cows. Excess production that Richard could not sell was made into cheese by Hilde and soon cheese became the main focus of the business. Dessert 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. In the same year, Strauss purchased Elite and grew to over 7,000 employees and a US$1 billion/year turnover, although the formal merger between the companies did not occur until 2004.

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

Strauss was cited 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

Strauss and Elite merged in 2004[14] to become Strauss–Elite, which, in 2005, acquired control of New York-based Sabra food producing company, to operate 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 Ltda in Brazil. The merged company, Santa Clara Participações, is the second largest coffee manufacturer in Brazil.

Since 2007: Strauss Group

In 2007, the company's name reverted to Strauss with a new corporate logo.

Strauss Ice Cream was removed from the Strauss Group portfolio and became private 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.

The Strauss Group has sold the Max Brenner brand in 2017 to some of the franchisees.[15]

Strauss family timeline

Strauss Dairy and General Milestones

Strauss Ice Cream

Strauss Salads

See also


  1. ^ "Strauss Israel". May 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Israeli foodmaker Strauss names Bardea as CEO". Reuters. September 5, 2018.
  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). December 24, 2003.
  11. ^ "The ynet article stating that Elite is a monopoly in the field of chocolate" (in Hebrew). August 27, 2003.
  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).
  14. ^ "ISRAEL: Elite, Strauss approve merger". just food. January 29, 2004. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  15. ^ Meseritz, Adi (May 25, 2017). "Strauss Group to Sell Max Brenner to Franchisees". Haaretz. Retrieved March 3, 2021.