business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Economist has an interesting story, citing a new study by JWT suggesting that the six million Muslims living in the United States “are, on average, richer and better educated than the general population. Two-thirds of Muslim households make more than $50,000 a year and a quarter earn over $100,000; the national average is $42,000. Two-thirds of American Muslims have a college degree, compared with less than half of the general population. Muslim families also tend to have more children. So the perception that marketing specifically to Muslims is not worthwhile would appear to be wrong.

“According to JWT, food, finance and packaged goods are the three consumer markets most affected by Islamic law. The global halal market is worth some $580 billion annually. In America an estimated 16% of sales in the $100 billion kosher industry comes from Muslims who lack adequate halal options. Manischewitz, the leading maker of kosher foods, has already spotted an opportunity. Last year it launched its first campaign under the theme ‘Simply Manischewitz’ designed to reach out beyond Jewish customers.”
KC's View:
The broader point here is that we live in a more diverse and pluralistic society than ever before, and retailers need to understand that both their customers and their employees may look, act and think differently…and will have to begin to cater to those differences.

Is there a mainstream, major supermarket chain in this country that has a section for Muslim or halal food? If so, I’m not aware of it. But then again, I’m not even exactly sure what halal means, and I wonder how many retailers understand it.

These are the kinds of leaps that we’re all going to have to make. These folks aren’t just going to be our customers and co-workers. They’re also going to be our neighbors and our friends.