Ramadan began Friday morning in France, but many supermarkets began wooing Muslim customers days ago. In the month of fasting, France’s Muslims – a community of roughly five million people – spend the most in food products.
According to a study by Paris-based ethnic market study firm Solis, Ramadan represents a 350 million euro business for major retail stores in France. During the month of Ramadan, a family that respects dawn-to-dusk fasting – broken with a generous evening feast – spends on average 30% more than in any other month of the year. All “halal” products – food that is permitted under Muslim code – sell better. Meat, dairy products, dates, and middle-eastern pastries fly off store shelves, as do grains, chocolate bars and fruit juices – for their sugar content.
In addition, the percentage of observant French Muslims is on the rise. French polling firm IFOP found that 71% of Muslims in France observe Ramadan compared to 60% in 1989. The Ramadan business is concentrated in big cities with large Muslim communities, like Paris, Lyons and Marseilles, where food companies seek to seduce through advertising, new products and special deals. A sign in the halal department of French supermarket chain Carrefour reads “Ramadan special – Discover a thousand and one flavors”.
The Casino group, the first to create a house halal brand – “Wassila” – distributed six million flyers and catalogues for Ramadan this year, and introduced 23 new halal products, like pizza, sandwiches and pre-cooked products. For the first time the market leader in halal cold cuts, Isla Delice, invested in a national television ad.
“Our objective is to wish a good Ramadan to our customers. In terms of image for us, it is important to be present in this period” Casino’s managing director Jean-Daniel Hertzog told reporters. The company is growing by 8% to 10% per year.
“Ramadan is the best moment for supermarkets to test new ranges of halal products, communicating on their festive character more than religious. For them the stakes are high.
It’s about recovering millions of people who generally prefer to do their shopping in small neighborhood shops,” anthropologist Florence Bergaurd-Blackler of the University Aix-Marseille told Le Figaro. (ANSAmed).