MODERN TIMES: Marketing strategies are changing due to the shift in lifestyle of British Muslims; and (below) Ali Imdad

by NADEEM BADSHAH £200M MARKET IS ‘UK’S BIGGEST UNTAPPED BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY’ FROM luxury chocolate-covered dates to halal sweet hampers, more big brands are looking to cash in on the £200 million-plus Ramadan economy. Research has shown there has been a rise in spending on food and gifts among British Muslims during the holy month of fasting, which takes place from mid-May for around 30 days. It has led to more supermarkets and big brands entering the mix, with Morrisons selling a Ramadan countdown calendar, similar to an advent calendar, for children. MAC cosmetics, the Body Shop and Godiva chocolates are also selling products as gifts for Eid celebrations later this month. Waleed Jahangir is CEO of Alge­bra Consulting which held a Mus­lim Lifestyle Show in April and is hosting an Eid Festival at West­field mall in west London on June 23 and 24. He believes that so called mod­est fashion, non-alcoholic wines and the organic and healthy halal food sectors will grow as more firms chase the Muslim pound. “More and more consumers are looking for healthier options, and they want to know where their food is coming from. It’s not enough to just know it’s halal,” Ja­hangir told Eastern Eye. “More mainstream brands are entering the market as they are seeing a demand in consumers. “According to a report we car­ried out this year, 95 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to shop somewhere if they did a special Ramadan offer. This is something mainstream brands are no longer able to ignore.” Ramadan will see Britain’s four million Muslim community, in­cluding boxer Amir Khan and Liv­erpool footballer Mohamed Salah, go without food or drink for around 15 hours a day. A study by Islamic marketing consultancy Ogilvy Noor found that more than 75 per cent of Brit­ish Muslims want retailers to pay more attention to Ramadan with their products. And almost two-thirds said they plan financially for Ramadan and Eid, while 63 per cent said they plan to spend more during the holy month. Saqib Bhatti, honorary chairman of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham, told Eastern Eye: “As we are seeing, tai­lored marketing campaigns for the Muslim community are a growing trend amongst retailers of all sizes. “As the Muslim community grows in size, it is only natural that retailers are beginning to recog­nise the value of unlocking the Muslim consumer market. “Those retailers who are adapt­ing to changing demographics and recognising where the high pockets of disposable incomes are will benefit from profit gains and long-term brand loyalty too. “I believe this is just the begin­ning of a much wider focus on tailored marketing for individual consumers and brands are merely scratching the surface.” Ali Imdad runs a dessert cafe in Birmingham and was a contestant on BBC show The Great British Bake Off. He believes chocolate-coated dates, sold in Selfridges, Harrods and The Datery, will be one of the most popular gift ideas for Ramadan and Eid. The businessman added in ma­jor cities in the UK, there is al­ready a wide range of halal op­tions for communities. “Considering Muslims only ac­count for less than five per cent of the population of the UK, we’re actually taken care of pretty well from the supermarkets and main­stream brands here. “Finding halal food isn’t really a problem, most supermarkets have halal sections, many restaurant chains are going halal like KFC and Pizza Express, so Ramadan as a Muslim in most of the major cit­ies in the UK is not a struggle when it comes to being catered for,” he explained. “Are these brands going to face a backlash? Perhaps. In recent years there’s been a ‘ban halal’ movement, but they’re mainly led by right-wing Islamophobes rather than animal rights campaigners. “Plus, they haven’t been par­ticularly successful. Muslims ac­count for 20 per cent of all lamb consumption and 25 per cent of all chicken consumption in the coun­try, so it makes business sense for a restaurant or a supermarket to use, sell or stock halal meat.” The spending power among British Muslims is estimated to be £21 billion. Meanwhile, the global Islamic economy is forecast to be worth more than £3 trillion by 2021, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy report. Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Ogilvy Noor, said: “The Ramadan season is one of complete life transformation, which brings with it an econom­ic surge. “We conservatively estimate this to be upwards of £200m each year, covering everything from fi­nancial planning to food, eating out, clothes, toys and gifting. “Following only Christmas and Easter in scale and size, this is surely Britain’s biggest untapped business opportunity.” Jaffer Kapasi, from the East Mid­lands Chamber in Leicester, add­ed: “The Muslim lifestyle econo­my is expected to grow in 2018. “This opens up business oppor­tunities for budding entrepre­neurs who, without offending reli­gious sensitivities, can capitalise on the Muslim market to launch start-ups in sectors ranging from halal food to modest fashion, swimwear, halal gift ideas say from perfumes, chocolates, sta­tionery, children’s toys and more. “Young, affluent Muslims are looking for products and services which are both compatible with their Islamic beliefs but also in line with modern living.”