Friday, 16 December 2016

Halal Food at Supermarkets

Back in 2010, BFTF interviewed Franz Flogel, who was undertaking some research on the grocery shopping perferences of Muslims in Nottingham. Franz later wrote an article about his research, entitled "ASDA Goes Halal Do British South Asian Grocery Retailers have to Fear ASDA’s new Offers for Muslims?", some extracts from which are summarised in this post.

Back in 2009, ASDA made a big effort to woo Asian shoppers, starting with a revamp of their Hounslow store to give about 20% of the space to Asian products, as reported here by the BBC. Some local Asian shop keepers were not happy, commenting that "Since they [ASDA] have got halal meat there we have lost 90% of our customers," said Naseeb Khan, a butcher and grocer. while corner shop manager Karamjeet Jaspal added "If you buy from cash and carry, it costs me £6 (for) atta (chapati flour), and Asda selling the same stuff (for) £5,".

However, Kalpesh Solanki of Asian Trader Magazine, whilst accepting that some shops would go out of business, commented that small shops needed to offer better service, saying "The managers at Asda aren't going to greet you, aren't going to say 'hello Mr Singh, nice to see you today..They won't do that... your local halal butcher is going to say that,"

Franz looked at the purchasing habits of Muslims who identified as being strongly and weakly religious in Sneinton (which, at the time, lacked "Big 4" supermarkets; Hyson Green (which had both Asian stores and an ASDA; and other areas of Nottingham.

The key results are shown in the article table below:

Franz concludes that :

...Mainstream retailers are challenged to convince stronger religiously identifying consumers that their religious halal products are as trustworthy as products from traditional ethnic retailers, as qualitative interviews and quantitative attitudes analysis showed. Because this consumer group does perceive ethnic shops as much more trustworthy when it comes to halal food shopping compared to mainstream shops. If they successfully do so ethnic shops are in danger of experiencing great losses in market share, because a lot of their advantage in the Muslim food market is due to the perception of higher trustworthiness. This is already visible for the weaker religiously identifying consumer group, which trusts mainstream shops nearly as much as ethnic shops...

Interesting aside : At around the same time, BFTF noted that ASDA were undercutting local Asian shops in the price of Basmati Rice so BFTF went to one of the senior staff at a large Asian store and asked if they wanted to take part in an interview about this practice and how damaging it was to independent stores. They responded that they were a bit reluctant as exactly the same accusation had been levelled at them when they opened their (large) store by owners of (small) local Asian stores

Update Jan 16
Franz has kindly uploaded two more documents relating to his research - here and here.

Image Sources
Original Article

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