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Brands, Grocers Provide Ramadan Meal Solutions

Observation and fasting period begins this week and concludes on April 21
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Farmer Focus
Farmer Focus offers Halal-certified organic chicken for consumers who observe Ramadan and shares recipes like Halal Cart Chicken and Rice.

The month of Ramadan has begun, and with it, efforts to provide products and solutions to Muslim consumers who participate in that period of reflection and fasting. The period concludes on April 21 with the observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the breaking of the fasting time.

Farmer Focus is one brand that is offering items for Ramadan. Its portfolio of 100% USDA organic and Humane Certified chicken includes Halal-certified items that are available at select retailers. Per religious rules, Halal foods can be consumed during the evening following a daily fast.

[Read more: "4 Case-Ready Meat Trends"]

“We are excited to see our partners embrace a growing and diverse population requesting Halal-certified chicken products,” said Kathryn Tuttle, chief commercial officer at the Harrisonburg, Va.-based Farmer Focus.

Shadi HasanzadeNemati, a blogger who writes at Unicorns in the Kitchen, lauded the brand’s merchandising efforts. “Halal-certified chicken hasn’t widely been available at regular supermarkets prior to Farmer Focus which limited the availability of Halal meat for those who don’t live near a specialty butcher,” she said. “It’s so much more convenient in the month of Ramadan to shop at your local supermarket for all your ingredients and not go to several stores.”

Food retailers can also point Ramadan-observing shoppers to the freezer aisle, where they can find heat-and-eat Halal meals. The Saffron Road brand, for example, offers products for pre-dawn and evening meals that lend a variety of cultural flavors, from tandoori-seasoned chicken nuggets to falafel to simmer sauces that can be paired with Halal meats and vegetables. This year, Saffron Road is offering Ramadan bundles on its website.

Many independent retailers that specialize in Halal foods and Middle Eastern and/or Mediterranean cuisine are sharing Ramadan ideas and promotions. In Austin, Texas, Desi Brothers is spotlighting deals on snacks and pantry staples that align with sun-up to sun-down fasting diets. Patel Brothers in Niles, Ill., is also providing suggestions for post-fast meals and snacks during Ramadan, such as perennially-popular stuffed dates.  

Majdi Wadi, the CEO of Holy Land Bakery, Grocery and Deli in Minneapolis, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that business was brisk ahead of the first day of Ramadan. The diversity of the Muslim community makes each community require certain kinds of foods," Wadi said. "Each country has different customs and certain traditions we try to accommodate."

Those who take part in Ramadan fasting often stock their pantries before the period begins, to ensure that they have food on hand for fasting breaks. Larger grocery lists come as Eid al-Fitr approaches, as families and friends gather to share communal meals and sweet dishes.

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