Ramadan In France Now Big Business – TV Ads Break New Ground On 4 Billion Euro Market Value
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. The first television ad for Muslim customers made an appearance on French TV in recent days, at the start of Ramadan in France. 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. The timing is not an accident either: there is evidence that Muslims consume more during the four weeks of Ramadan. 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.
The Solis agency which specialises in ethnic marketing, estimates a market of around 4 billion euros in 2009, with an annual growth of 15%. In France, 93% of north Africans and 55% of citizens from subsaharan Africa buy halal produce. A few weeks ago a hoarding 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, explain Solis. "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.