Time to stock up for Ramadan

Set of assorted traditional eastern desserts. Arabian sweets on wooden table. Baklava, halva, rahat lokum, sherbet, nuts, pistachios, dates, raisins, kadayif in a colorful plates. Selective focus

With Ramadan starting next month, retailers can win by stocking a selection of goodies for the iftar meal.


Ramadan, which this year will last from May 5 to June 4, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims as a month of fasting.

At sunset, families gather for the fast-breaking meal known as iftar.

This meal includes dates, fruit, soup and traditional desserts plus drinks such as juice, milk, soft drinks and caffeinated beverages.

Retailers whose stores are located in areas with Muslim populations can offer a selection of these products, which will increase in sales during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated across the globe, bringing with it Eid al-Fitr “Festival of Breaking Fast” – family and friends gather to celebrate the end of the fast and vibrant dishes such as Biryani are served.

Ramadan provides a great opportunity to highlight the convenience and versatility of the rice category and as meals are often enjoyed with family and friends, there is greater opportunity to promote dry rice.

“Stocking larger pack formats of dry rice is important around Ramadan, particularly for retailers having stores around large Muslim communities, in order to maximise sales opportunities,” comments Dilip Srinivasan, Commercial Marketing Manager at Tilda.

Basmati is the rice grain used by the vast majority of communities and a premium brand is key for special occasions. Basmati is a very versatile grain and it can be used for preparing varied number of rice dishes both savoury and sweet.

With the big bags category now worth £46.5million and growing by 18.8% YOY, Tilda has seen annual value sales of its big bags reaching £8m and growing at 15.8% YOY (IRI).

Small packs of Basmati (size less than 2 kg) are also a key sales driver for Tilda during Ramadan – annual value sales reached £15.4 million in 2018, growing at 2.7% year on year. Tilda is the leading brand within this sub category with 26.3% share (IRI).

Ramadan is a key sales period overall for all ethnic ingredients – staples like oil, flour, spices and rice are bought in bulk for home cooking as people spend money on food and drink products to celebrate the occasion.

Aside from traditional Ramadan foods including Indian sweets, nuts, dried fruits and herbs and spices, Basmati rice is an essential must stock product. Tilda has long been the UK’s number one dry rice and Basmati brand, worth £74.8m at RRP.

Tilda recommends stocking a range of formats. Catering to different consumers, Tilda Pure Basmati is available in the following pack sizes: 500g, 1kg, & 2kg 5kg, 10kg, & 20kg. For Ramadan, shoppers usually trade up to larger pack formats like the 5 kg, 10 kg and 20 kg.

Ramadan is also a time where consumers prepare rice dishes like Biryani. Tilda offers Tilda Grand Extra Long Basmati rice which has elegantly long and exquisitely fine grains. The grains always stand out regardless of the ingredients consumers combine them with. It’s a grain that adapts well to any recipe but is particularly suitable for biryanis where rice is at the heart of the dish. It is available in 5, 10 and 20 kg packs.

Over Ramadan rice becomes front of mind and over the period last year, Tilda saw value sales boost by 7% to £2.2m YOY (15 weeks ending June 30, 2018).

“Rice ranges must be a carefully considered part of an independent retailer’s Ramadan fixture and ranges should include big bags, small packs but also Ready to Heat (RTH) options to provide convenience, exciting tastes and versatility over the fasting period,” comments Srinivasan.

Innovation is also key, especially at this time of year, with Tilda’s best-selling RTH Basmati flavours including Lime and Coriander, Coconut & Limited Edition Peri Peri. It’s Hot and Spicy Firecracker Basmati rice has also seen huge growth in the past year of 86.7%.

The Tilda RTH portfolio offers more than 21 varieties, all of which are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and contain no artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives, giving retailers a versatile range of products that engage and excite over the Ramadan period.

Food choices over Ramadan are also strongly influenced by healthy eating trends with diets becoming more fibre rich and protein packed to sustain consumers over fasting periods.   “Tilda focuses on purity, quality and providing only the best products which deliver on taste, health and ethical credentials to support this consumer need, adds Srinivasan. “As Ramadan increases in importance and relevance within UK culture, new and exciting ways to engage the consumer at the fixture should also be considered.”

Ramadan is a very important time for Tilda with many of the brand’s SKUs appealing to the occasion. Over the Ramadan period Tilda Pure Basmati 10kg and 20kg bags will include a10% extra free special promotion.

This year Tilda will be supporting Ramadan with a heavyweight TV and radio campaign running for eight weeks to attract new shoppers during the festive period. The campaign includes TV spots across stations including Sony Channel, Zee TV and Star Plus. Tilda is also bolstering activity with radio ads on Sunrise radio and Lyca radio.

Ramadan campaign

A subsidiary of Flying Trade Group, Surya Foods is one of the largest suppliers of authentic world foods to the UK food sector, distributing frozen, ambient and fresh food to thousands of independent retailers across the UK. Surya’s leading Laila basmati rice is in the UK top 3 dry rice brands.

Surya’s evolving ranges cater to the South Asian, Caribbean, Polish, African and Oriental communities, with Arabic, Mediterranean and Turkish products recently added to its world food line up. With over 2,500 products available, Surya represents more than 50 agency lines including some of the world’s leading brands.

The company is embarking on several different activities in support of its leading brands this Ramadan, including its Top 3 UK Laila basmati rice brand and its halal Humza frozen and chilled ranges.

Laila Basmati is launching a ‘Love to Share’ campaign, in support of its Top 3 UK rice brand this Ramadan.

The campaign builds on a major rebrand by the leading rice brand which has seen the launch of 100% recyclable packaging and a new product strapline – ‘Love Laila Naturally’.

Thousands of POS packs, decorative shippers and eye catching display towers are on their way to independents and national stores across the UK in support of the campaign which will be reinforced by social media, special in-store promotions, advertising and PR activity.

The holy month of Ramadan is synonymous with generosity and giving. During Laila’s latest campaign customers purchasing special 5kg or 10kg packs of Laila rice can use an on-pack code via the Laila Ramadan App to donate meals to a charity of their choice. Donations will be made via Laila’s affiliated UK charity World Food Aid with potential beneficiaries including; Noor Foodbank (Preston) Bradford Central Foodbank, Trussell Trust, Muslim Hands and Fareshare, among others.

Surya Managing Director Harry Dulai said: “Giving is part of the fabric of Ramadan. It is estimated that up to 4 million UK Muslims will donate over £100m to those in need during this one month, which the Muslim Charities Forum translates to around £38 being donated every second.

“To further build on this fantastic spirit of giving and generosity we are delighted to enable our customers to donate to a charity of their choice while going about their weekly shop.

“Ramadan 2019 is one of the key points within a year- long campaign celebrating our rebrand.”

To support the campaign a new and improved Laila Ramadan App will be launched providing essential information regarding fasting, prayers and rituals all at the touch of a screen.

Laila’s Ramadan App, first launched in 2014, offers a host of sophisticated features to help its users meet the religious practices of the Holy month, including; listing and alerting the user of prayer times; directing users to the nearest mosque; featuring a Qibla locator to determine the direction of Mecca; notifying users of the Suhoor and Iftar feast times. It also features dozens of rice based recipes, which make for perfect, slow energy release sustenance during feast times.

Laila’s recent rebrand continues to be promoted through shopper promotions and events, sampling, merchandising, as well as activity across Laila’s digital and social media platforms and is being rolled out across all Laila products globally. A new website has also been launched.

The rebrand taps into one of the biggest consumer trends of the moment – the consumer’s desire to make environmentally friendly choices.

Harry Dulai added: “We are very proud to have launched 100% recyclable packaging across our entire range of smaller bags – the first rice bags which can be disposed of with general household recycling plastic waste. The special holy month of Ramadan is a great time to support our core Laila customers by giving something back to the community, as well as celebrate our brand’s improved environmental credentials – which also helps the planet.”

To re-enforce Laila’s position as ethnic rice category leader its Ramadan Roadshow will once again be moving across the country with a whole host of activities planned in stores and in association with local mosques.

Harry Dulai added: “Ramadan is an important time for us to consolidate existing customer loyalty and attract new customers to the brand.”

The move comes as Laila adds more than £3m YOY to the rice category with sales growth of 34.6% during the last year (Nielsen 2018). With annual sales now edging toward £12m, Laila has achieved the biggest branded growth among the Top 3 UK dry rice brands for the second year running. Laila owners Surya Foods has also seen a return of its Salaam rice brand to the UK Top 10.

Flying Trade Group Ltd recently stepped into the burgeoning halal convenience food sector with the acquisition of leading halal frozen food specialists Humza, and soon after top 10 UK pizza brand Gino’s Foods – a halal ethnic pizza specialist. It has since become a major player in the sector, quickly attracting listings across hundreds of independents.

Surya’s premium Humza frozen and chilled range features samosas, spring rolls, kebabs, grills, burgers, sausages and frozen vegetables popular in halal cooking.

Samosas are a popular family treat during Ramadan and well-known brands, which offer a taste of home, will, naturally, do very well with increased visibility.

The specialist wholesaler has seen double digit growth in its halal sales during the last year which is likely to accelerate further as Ramadan gets underway.

Last year the Humza brand tripled its frozen lines, adding 15 new Skus to its total product range, from traditional flaky paratha and authentic, ready to puff chapattis to microwaveable lamb and chicken seekh kebabs as well as some more modern lines including southern fried chicken burgers and piri piri chicken goujons.

Spurred on by impressive growth in its frozen lines, this year the leading halal brand has just launched 11 new chilled skus to expand its convenience offering to busy Muslim families, taking its total chilled skus to 16.

The fresh and ‘ready to eat’ lines include popular and traditional snacking staples from samosas and kebabs to a spicy selection of chicken strips, wings and slices.

The premium NPD across the brand is part of a drive to expand its offering of convenience foods to the halal sector. Its authentic range of products are perfect for discerning consumers looking for quick and easy meal solutions. The range combines select cuts of halal meat, blended with the finest spices and exotic herbs for an unmistakeable home-cooked taste.

Talking about the rapid growth in the ‘halal convenience food’ sector Surya Foods Managing Director Harry Dulai said: “We noticed a significant gap in the market for convenient and easy to prepare halal products for busy families and have gone full steam ahead to develop skus specifically aimed at this sector receiving fantastic interest at both national and independent retail level.

“The UK market has had to rely heavily on scratch cooking to guarantee the provenance of meat in popular everyday items like samosas. However, the enormous success of our brand, at both national and independent retail level, is evidence that the UK Muslim market is on the look-out for premium quality, convenient, halal food. Now available in over 1,000 stores nationally we expect sales to accelerate further during Ramadan, with samosas being a popular and traditional Iftar snack.

“Quick and easy meal solutions naturally have significant appeal during the Holy month of Ramadan when consumer’s energy levels are challenged by fasting for long periods.”

Back by popular demand

Indian snacks manufacturer Cofresh has re-introduced two popular Ramadan products to help retailers maximise sales during the religious festival.

In keeping with the Muslim tradition of breaking the fasting period with dates – and back by popular demand – the range includes two date-based snacks; the sweet and tasty Arabian Date & Nut Bites (185g) and the Peanut, Date & Coconut Brittle Bites (160g).

Both are high in carbs so deliver a quick burst of energy when required, and come in handy resealable pouches to maintain freshness during Ramadan.  Cofresh’s popular Corn Crackers – in Hot & Spicy, Peri Peri and Chilli & Lime flavours – are also available in bumper 120g packs, ideal for sharing.

“Ramadan is not only a great time to maximise sales as consumers will be looking for tasty and traditional snacks to enjoy when they gather to celebrate 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 their customers’ average spend,” says Debbie King, Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing at Cofresh, the UK’s No 1 Indian snack brand.

“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.”

Cofresh will be supporting retailers throughout Ramadan with a range of WIGIG offers and in-store activity including a range of distinctive SRPs, gondola ends and out-of-aisle display units.

In a new move for Cofresh, a high-profile consumer advertising campaign will also run across a number of premium Asian TV channels  and radio stations throughout the month-long festival to boost awareness of the brand and help drive footfall to the fixture.

Iftar wrapped up

As families prepare for the Holy month of Ramadan, authentic Mediterranean food specialist Dina Foods is seeing a spike in sales of its ranges of savouries, confectionery, and breads.

The London-based company, which is a major supplier to Muslim communities, sees sales boom in the two months running up to Ramadan, says Dina Foods Managing Director, Mr Suheil Haddad.

Sales of its flatbreads and pittas, medjoul dates, baklawa and other sweets or savouries such as falafel, kibbe or pastry savouries are much in demand at the thousands of ethnic shops which Dina Foods supplies.

The range is perfect for Iftar, when families and friends typically gather to mark the end of the day’s fasting, enjoying dates, followed by snacks and prepared dishes.

Mr Haddad says that healthy eating is a point of difference with these products, consumers usually want to eat well as they break their fast: “Mediterranean food is seen as a light and healthy option, as well as being tasty.”

Family-company Dina Foods’ complete Lebanese savouries range includes Falafel, Vine Leaves, Kibbes, Sfiha, hummus and Baba Ganoush, all crowd-pleasers during Ramadan.

Falafels come in a range of flavours, anything from traditional Lebanese falafel to the best-selling sweet potato version or even a fresh beetroot falafel or a chilli & coriander variant.

Dina Foods also supplies a wide selection of wholemeal, white and seeded flatbreads, and pitta breads, including its hugely popular paninette flatbread, which can be sliced or used as a wrap.

The company is the leading baklawa and mamoul producer in the UK, offering an extensive range made using recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. The baklawa range includes traditional assortments with nuts such as pistachio baklawa, cashew bourma or macadamia baklawa but fruit selections like cranberry or apricot baklawa are also available.

Every piece is hand cut and crafted, to make the ultimate dessert.