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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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

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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs