August 2009 - The veil may be the eye of the storm in France (and it is dead set against the burkha) but apparently businesses know where there’s money to be made. I have often wondered how intolerant France is of its Muslims and then lo and behold! We have halal food on its mainstream grocery shelves and now the first ever TV commercial on halal foods. Reality is stranger than fiction!
According to reports, "Supermarkets have been expanding their shelf space for halal products, recognizing that sales do go up in the month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims." Also this Ramadan, French TV aired its first ever ad campaign on halal foods. "The timing is not an accident either: there is evidence that Muslims consume more during the four weeks of Ramadan, which began on August 22 this year. Spaghetti bolognese, pizza, gratin, ravioli, minestrone, milk and fruit, all strictly halal (allowed), have become the goose that laid the golden egg for food companies suffering from the current crisis. 400 different products have sprung up in French supermarkets." America, land of liberty, freedom of religion and 6-8 million Muslims, where are our halal ads? Where are the halal products in our mainstream groceries?
According to Solis agency, which specializes in ethnic marketing "The halal market (in France) is valued at close to 4 billion euro for 2009, and is estimated to grow at annual rate of 15%. 93% of North Africans and 55% of sub-Saharan Africans maintain halal, forming the bulk of the halal consumer base. Supermarket chains Auchan, Leclerc, Super U and Casino have a special halal shelf area during the Ramadan period, but also during the rest of the year. Carrefour, in France, has offered halal products for years now but now has its own brand, Reghalal, which offers turkey cuts and poultry sausages, and which is sold at its low-cost Ed stores. The Wassila halal brand was launched by Supermarket giant, Casino, this August. Customers can check out its halal portral wassila.fr, before they head out to stores, to see which products are guaranteed halal.
Stéphane Renaud of 'Products of the World' of Auchan says that there's a potential for Muslims to make up 10-20% of customers in their shops. Muslim consumers are more inclined to buy at supermarkets offering halal, and the supermarkets have significantly expanded their product offerings over the past five years. Still, the marketing is often couched in terms such as ‘Flavors of the Orient’ and ‘A Taste from the Thousand and One Nights’, rather than explicitly using the word Ramadan. All that may be set to change with the advent of the first TV Ad targeting Muslim halal consumers.
The ad shows a young couple with north African features shopping at the supermarket, putting 'halal' certified lasagne and paella in their trolley. "Yes, we eat halal and it is really delicious" he says. In French it even rhymes. The potential audience is five million consumers (the country has the largest Muslim community in Europe), who observe the fast in ever greater numbers: 70% of France's Muslims fast. What could become a new fashion in France was launched by the Ferico group, part of Panzani, which has been selling couscous under the Zakia brand name for more than a century. The campaign became immediately visible after being shown on some of the most popular TV channels in France starting on August 17, including Tf1 and M6, as well as digital terrestrial channels.
A few weeks ago a board appeared on the Champs-Elysees advertising halal salami and smoked ham from the Isla Delice brand. This is a novelty for one of the temples of shopping in Paris, while Muslim fast-food and butchers are a success in the Arab districts and the suburbs. France's Muslims like the prime-time TV ad on Tf1 even more, as they finally feel like customers, like other people.
"There are a lot of Arabs in this advert, and it's the first time I've ever seen such a thing in France. Finally we count economically in this country," writes Mounafia on Bladi.net, an internet site for the French Arab community. In shops belonging to the Auchan chain ten times as much space has been given over to selling halal produce in recent days.” "
Source includes: ANSAmed