Ramadan: business feasts on religious fasting

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Ramadan: business feasts on religious fasting

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It is Ramadan, a month of religious discipline for Muslims across the world – and a time for the business-minded to cash in.

With a five to six million-strong Muslim population, France is home to Europe’s biggest Muslim population.

Fasting and abstention from dawn ends in feasting and family get-togethers come sundown. The country’s supermarket chains cannot afford to ignore Ramadan.

The market for Halal meat is booming. In France it is worth more than four billion euros a year and is twice as large as the organic market. In recent years it has been expanding fast.

As supermarket manager Mathias Michenaud explains: “We’ve gone from a general market of fairly large families who cook at home and look for raw materials to cook with, to a clientele of smaller families, people who work and who share with non-Muslim consumers the need for easy-to-prepare, microwavable goods.”

And it is not just food that sells in Ramadan.

Bookseller Mansour Mansour makes almost a third of his turnover in the Holy month. He says: “Most shops, especially the bigger supermarkets know that the business stakes are high and they play the game too; all month these books are put at the front of the shelves.”

And technology is getting in on the act too.

Mobile phones are offering special applications that tell you prayer times, the location of the nearest mosques and even an online Koran.