For many people coffee is an essential part of everyday life. We buy it on the way out in the mornings, as a pick-me-up in the afternoon and often socialise over it with friends. However, until a few years ago the cost of going out for coffee in Israel was skyrocketing, it got to the point where a cup of coffee would often cost over $4 and an ice coffee in the summer could easily cost over $5. In other words, a significant amount of money for most people.
However, in 2013 a new café came along, Cofix, and it has completely revolutionised the market, bringing prices down and fundamentally changing the Israeli food industry.
The café operates on a simple principle, everything on offer cost just 5 shekel. This isn’t just the coffee but the entire menu, everything from health bars to pre-packaged pasta salad, sandwiches, freshly squeezed fruit juices, croissants and even beer and other alcohol.
Cofix came about after a number of protests regarding the cost of living in Israel and it immediately captured a market of people eager for low cost options. It was an instant success and Israel’s other coffee chains were forced to dramatically cut their prices as a result of what has become known as the ‘Cofix effect’.
Recently Cofix has expanded and opened a number of supermarkets but it has even bigger plans for the future. There are currently over 150 Cofix stores in Israel and it now hopes to export its kiosks to other urban hubs. There are rumours that it is planning to open in the UK and in recent times it has been taking Moscow by storm and directly challenging larger well-established chains such as Starbucks.
In Moscow the average cup of coffee costs $4 while Cofix is offering it for just $0.80. The chain is reportedly hoping to have as many as 100 stores operating across Russia by the end of 2018 and the CEO, Avi Katz, has said that he thinks the current economic conditions in the country make it perfect for Cofix to grow even bigger with as many as 1,000 branches.
However, it must be noted that in February 2017 Cofix raised its prices in Israel from 5 shekel to 6 shekel per item. The increase was blamed on the rising costs of rent, the minimum wage, municipal taxes, electricity and raw materials. Nonetheless, it remains the cheapest option in Israel and the Super Cofix supermarket chain has kept its costs at 5 shekel per item.
Cofix has generally increased awareness about the cost of living in Israel and during your gap year this is an issue that you are likely to discuss. Furthermore, it has spawned a number of similar chains (such as Cofizz) and you can now go out and enjoy coffee and a sandwich or pastry for as little as 12 shekel, something that you are bound to appreciate during your time here.