Ready for Ramadan

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The month-long event of Ramadan (15 May to 14 June 2018) is an important period for the majority of Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims and as such presents retailers with an opportunity to grow sales of suitable products, in particular world foods.

Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks, says convenience retailers’ share of world food sales grows by 17% during Ramadan. Stores in areas with a large Muslim population can get very busy, so it is vital they offer a wide enough range of products in the lead-up to and throughout the month. Stores in areas with smaller Muslim populations should stock the most popular products.

Varied range
The range should be varied to suit the different meal occasions during the month, including Suhur, the pre-dawn meal, Iftar, the meal to break the fast each evening, and the Eid celebrations at the end of the month. This is a time when observers will celebrate with family and friends, as well as the wider community; many shoppers may therefore decide to buy in bulk, especially products like rice, flour, oil, dates and snacks. According to The Muslim Council of Great Britain, Ramadan is also a time where Muslims are encouraged to be charitable and help others in the community who are unable to fast; therefore, it is important to replenish stock quickly to ensure there is enough to satisfy demand.

Ramadan accounts for 43% of world drinks sales, says Troy. Shoppers who observe this event are prohibited from drinking during daylight hours; therefore, they will be on the lookout for drinks that provide high levels of energy to keep them going.

In February, Rubicon launched a Deluxe range offering a selection of high-sugar juice drinks, which the brand says are must-stocks for Ramadan. Troy says: “The new Rubicon Deluxe range, available in Mango, Guava and Guanabana flavours, are more indulgent products for special occasions and entertaining, as well as functional high-sugar drinks during Ramadan. Offering the full range of Rubicon Deluxe and regular products gives local retailers a point of difference that will drive profits, as sales of the brand increase by 75% during this time.”

Dates also provide a good source of energy and are a traditional food eaten during Ramadan.

Driving spend
Dilip Patel, owner of Londis Clapham Park in south London, says he sees and uplift in sales of Iranian moist dates during the event, while Ali Abdeali, whose family owns Chalvey Supermarket in Slough, Berkshire, says he often has other retailers buying their dates from his store, as he aims to keep his prices lower than a cash and carry.

Snacking brand Cofresh recently launched two products specifically for Ramadan – Arabian Date & Nut Bites and Peanut, Date & Coconut Brittle Bites. Debbie King, director of commercial sales and marketing at Cofresh, says the new packs are high in carbohydrates to deliver energy when required.

She says: “Ramadan is not only a great time to maximise sales, as customers will be looking for tasty and traditional snacks to enjoy when they gather to celebrate after Iftar each evening, but it also represents a major opportunity for retailers to highlight their offering and help them stand out from the multiples while driving consumer spend.”

Exotic flavours
James Logan, commercial director at Refresco, which includes the Sunpride juices brand in its portfolio, says: “Ramadan is the ideal opportunity for people to try something new and exciting. Retailers should stock favourites that consumers know and love, but also encourage them to purchase additional flavours to increase spend.”

Sunpride Juice is said to be a popular brand with Asian shoppers, especially during Ramadan, as it offers a selection of tropical flavours, including Mango, Passionfruit & Rose, Pineapple, Guanabana & Ginger, and Lychee, Guava & Lime.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslim observers will celebrate Eid, which is the day they break their fast. This is usually a time where family, friends and communities come together to celebrate and many shoppers will be looking to stock up on essential products. These are good products to offer as part of a deal.

Taste adventure
“In the 13 years we have had this store, Ramadan is always the busiest time of the year,” says Abdeali. He offers a selection of tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and red kidney beans in a ‘five for £1’ deal.

Snack products are also important staples during Ramadan, especially for the Eid celebrations. Alongside its dates, Cofresh also launched 900g bags of its most popular savoury mixes – Bombay Mix and Karachi Crunch. King at Cofresh says: “With Indian snacks being the fastest growing ‘taste adventure’ of choice, retailers can easily capitalise on the increasing demand for bolder, spicier food, especially at key selling times such as Ramadan.”

Eilis Cronin

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