(ANSAmed) - Paris, July 20 - 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 advertisig, new
products and special deals.
A sign in the halal department of French supermarket chain
Carrefour reads "Ramadan special - Discover a thousand and one
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
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).