News / Europe

French Muslim Shoppers Demand Halal Foods

Lisa Bryant
LIVRY GARGAN, France - The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is underway, and in France it underscores the growing influence of Muslim shoppers. In the Paris suburb of Livry Gargan supermarkets and manufacturers are scrambling to meet the demand for halal products that meet Muslim dietary laws.

At Cora supermarket in Livry-Gargan, a multi-ethnic, working-class suburb north of Paris, one aisle gets extra attention.  It offers halal products, those sanctioned under Muslim dietary laws.  From milk, spices and candies, to frozen lasagna and hamburger meat, there is plenty of choice.

Fatima Assani, 39, a mother of two and native of Morocco says she usually makes a special soup for Ramadan.  Her family also serves briks, a North African pastry, and oriental cakes.  She says she usually finds what she needs at Cora.

Like Assani, many of France's estimated five million Muslims are increasingly choosing halal foods.  Officials estimate the country's halal market is growing about 10 to 15 percent a year. Abbas Bendali, head of the Paris-based Solis market research firm, says Ramadan is the peak month for halal sales, generating about $430 million in business.
 
Bendali says big suppliers and supermarkets are scrambling to meet this Ramadan demand, offering lots of halal products and promotions during Ramadan.

For example, a Ramadan leading halal meat brand, Isla Delice, launched a national TV campaign for the first time.  Supermarkets like Cora also have Ramadan halal promotions.

For Ramadan, 30-year-old business executive Mounira Ben Maamar is interested in buying a traditional French delicacy, foie gras.  However, there is now a halal version.
 
Mounira Ben Maamar says a decade ago France's Muslim community had few choices when it came to halal products.  Today, she says, manufacturers are waking up to a market worth millions of dollars and they're beginning to develop their brands.

As he shows Cora's display of halal products, supermarket Director Mathias Michenaud says it reflects the diversity of Muslim shoppers.

Michenaud says some of his Muslim clientele are big families that cook traditional foods.  But there are also modern couples and single people who want easy-to-prepare foods.  Many were born in France and have adopted French cuisine.

Michenaud says even Muslims who are not very religious may choose halal over non-halal products if they have the choice.

Halal foods periodically stir up controversy and suspicion among non-Muslims in France.  Earlier this year, far-right politician Marine le Pen criticized Muslim slaughtering practices.  She claims French shoppers are unknowingly buying halal meat.
 
Bendali says that controversy put a break on the halal business, but not for long.  Today's debate is about supply.

Muslim shoppers like Ben Maamar say there is still not enough variety and prices for halal products are too high.  But with the halal market booming in France, exceeding that for organic products in some regions, analysts say she and other Muslim consumers will likely get what they want sooner, rather than later.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dhoni from: Indonesia
August 06, 2012 9:43 PM
the comment is said to be reviewed by staff and you choose to show the Islamophobic comment. oh sure, this is VOA.
In Response

by: khalil from: Paris
August 16, 2012 6:42 PM
Halal Baby Food - Did you know that there Halal Baby Food ? For more information you can see http://baby-food-halal.com/2/index.php?lang=En

by: Natali from: France
August 02, 2012 12:03 PM
you will see... soon the riots bombs murder... suicide bomber... you will see... France must deport all these uglies back to Africa and the Middle east... NO MORE ISLAM IN EUROPE...
In Response

by: Dhoni from: Indonesia
August 06, 2012 9:42 PM
I'm Indonesian. I'm Muslim. I'm not a slight of african nor middle eastern. Get the hell wake up. Your hatred goes nothing. You think Muslim make bomb as a hobby. Pffft, european surely is Islamophobic

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs