Passover foods are being sold for for 5 times the retail price as online sellers try to profit off of coronavirus shortages

matzah balls

Screenshot/eBay/Manischewitz/Business Insider

The matzah balls on the right cost $10.94 on eBay, while the matzah balls on the right retail for $3.16 from the manufacturer.

  • As the Jewish holiday of Passover begins this week, shoppers have reported shortages of items in grocery stores and online. 
  • Business Insider discovered similar price-gouging by online retailers on Passover foods like matzah and Kosher for Passover cakes. 
  • Price-gouging has become more common during the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected 1.4 million people and killed over 88,500 globally.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

This week, Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a major holiday that celebrates the exodus from Egypt. As part of the holiday, families usually gather together for a traditional meal service called a "seder" and eat special foods deemed strictly Kosher for Passover. 

This year, the eight-day holiday begins on the evening of April 8 and is taking place as the world experiences a coronavirus pandemic, which has left grocery store shelves empty and led countries to enforce major limits on social gatherings. Advertisement

Some people have reported increased prices at grocery stores for common Passover foods, like matzah: 

Many reported products being sold out in stores and online.

 
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Other people who have considered buying Passover food online have reported massive price hikes: 

 Business Insider discovered similar price-gouging by online retailers ahead of the holiday. Advertisement

On April 8, a box of premade matzah ball mix from Manischewitz was listed on eBay for $10.94.

MATZAH BALLS ebay

Screenshot/eBay

The same product is available to purchase on the Manischewitz website. The site sells a case of 24 boxes for $53.09, or roughly $2.21 a box wholesale. It lists the retail price as $75.84, equal to $3.16 a box in-store. Advertisement

maztah balls

Screenshot/Manischewitz

Similar Passover foods were also marked up by sellers looking to take advantage of shortages. 

A 12 oz. box of Manischewitz apple crumb cake mix was listed by one eBay seller for $12.99. According to the Manischewitz website, 12 cases of the cake mix costs $48.82, or about $4.06 a box. It retails for $6.78, roughly half the price of the eBay box. Advertisement

Price-gouging has become more common during the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected 1.4 million people and killed over 88,500 globally.

In one extreme case, a man from Tennessee had stockpiled anti-bacterial wipes and 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and sold them at a markup on Amazon. Meanwhile, others have set up anonymous Facebook and Instagram profiles to sell face masks at high prices. 

Last month, Amazon kicked 3,900 sellers off its platform for using what it called "unfair pricing" on goods during the pandemic. Advertisement

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