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Toronto kosher guru explodes on social media

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Shlomo Assayag with his wife, Estee, at the Peace of Mind gala dinner. AMANDA BENNET PHOTO

The power of social media has transformed how many kosher consumers are approaching their grocery purchases.

Kosher guru Shlomo Assayag created and launched “Speedy Meaty…T.O.’s Kosher Guru” Facebook group some 18 months ago, armed with the latest news and updates on everything kosher for its almost 6,000 followers.

“I want to give Canadians a spotlight to showcase what we have in the Toronto kosher market. The entire group is all about food and the love of kosher food,” said Assayag.

Assayag updates the kosher consumer in real time about scores of discounts occurring at a variety of local supermarkets. It’s a place where people can post a kosher foodie question and get answers within minutes, and has information on every kosher food establishment in Toronto. There are also contests and giveaways to build awareness of the group by encouraging people to invite their friends to join.

Members like to share everything kosher – from a great meal at a new restaurant, to a new product they have discovered. Restaurant owners, as well as pop-up restaurants and event venues, often invite the kosher guru to promote their businesses through videos streamed over Facebook Live.

Assayag was responsible for last month’s kosher cheese war, which pitted two supermarkets, Justin’s No Frills and Kosher City, against each other in a price war.

READ: KOSHER MEAT EXPECTED TO RISE IN PRICE THIS SUMMER

“We have been having a lot of fun with the recent cheese price wars. The product was a two-pound bag of shredded cheese that usually retails for $16.99. At about 9:30 a.m., one of the Speedy Meaty members posted a picture of Justin’s No Frills’ two-pound bag of shredded cheese at $9.99. Everyone was so excited that they were making comments, as it was almost half price.

“Kosher City, down south, sees it and they post at $8.99. At about 5:30 p.m., I get a message from one of the members who sends a picture from Carlo’s No Frills, who reduces the price of the shredded cheese to $5.99. I post it on the site and members were raving.

“Justin sees the new price and messages me and tells me he’s going to $4.99. This was at about 7 p.m. I post to the group at $4.99 and people start running to Justin’s from all over the city, even asking friends to pick up the product for them, too,” laughed Assayag.

The food wars continued with hamburgers at Justin’s No Frills priced at $13.99. A Speedy Meaty member out shopping posted that Walmart had the same product for $11.99. An hour later, Justin’s No Frills reduced it to $10.99.

“This price war brought people from down south that don’t usually shop up north, to drive all the way up to get the hamburger special and stock up for the rest of the summer,” said Assayag proudly.

One of the advantages of being a member of Speedy Meaty is the flash sales that are posted daily at 9 a.m. People on social media are looking for discounts and one doesn’t have to be kosher to join.

‘Some non-religious people went out of their way to get the hamburger deal because it was price comparable to the non-kosher’

“Some non-religious people went out of their way to get the hamburger deal because it was price comparable to the non-kosher. The more we grow, as you can see with the price wars, the more power we can have as kosher consumers,” said Assayag.

Assayag, 41, begins his workday at 7 a.m., and logs off at 11 p.m.

“I am on the phone non-stop, answering private messages and questions,” he said. “For example, today I got a question from someone in Miami, asking about kosher restaurants in Niagara. The outreach is far and wide. There is no kosher group in Toronto that is doing this.”

In addition to being the founder of toskosherguru.com (the website is a landing page for all of his business websites), his other food businesses are koshermeats2u.com and kosherbbq2u.com.

Assayag is launching his newest website, kosherinthe6ix.com, this week. The site will feature recipes and blogs about food.

“I want Speedy Meaty to become a place where people from all over the world hear about us and want to come to Toronto, or anywhere in Canada, and know where to eat and what’s happening in the kosher world – anything related to food,” said Assayag.

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