Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Islam, has become a veritable business in France, the western country which hosts the largest number of Muslims, some 5 million, and where the consumption of halal food increases by 15% annually. Not only that, now Ramadan is a part and parcel of the Republican calendar and of the politicians' agenda: Iftar, the meal which at sunset breaks the fast, has become a local consecrated ritual for cities like Lille, Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg, Roubaix. [...] The USA also understood that and on September 15 they will organize an Iftar at their Paris embassy.
On the marketing and business level the supermarkets such as Casino and Leclerc opened at the end of August a 'Ramadan' section where you can find all the products consumed during the Muslim holy month and that up till last year were sold under the label of 'Oriental tastes'. But in actual fact, the best strategy to attract clients, who in the month of fasting, despite the fact that it is a period of abstinence, spend much more than usual for Iftar, the family and very often neighbourhood holiday, has not yet been devised. Somebody had the idea to advertise the energy drink X35 as a remedy to avoid pupils falling asleep in class.
France: Ramadan Follies (1), 5 September 2008