Middle-class Muslims fuel halal boom in France

A boom in sales of halal products, including alcohol-free bubbly and goose liver paté approved by Islamic law, is being driven by the emergence of an affluent middle class of young Muslims in France. Known as the beurgeois – a play on bourgeois and the word beur, slang for a French person of North African descent – these new consumers are behind a rapidly expanding and highly profitable market in halal food and drinks.

With spending power worth an estimated €5.5bn a year these under-40s are forcing international food suppliers to cater for their demands. Younger members of France’s estimated 5 million-strong Muslim community – with whom relations have been strained by the recent debate on national identity and threats by Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-of-center government to ban the burqa – are asserting their economic muscle. As one French website put it, halal is “very good business” for French companies.