Region/Countries: Benelux Countries, Europe Industry: Food and Beverage Date: January 2017

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Growth in the Muslim population has created opportunities for companies that understand the cultural factors involved in marketing to this group.

Belgium, like many countries, is multicultural. Especially strong growth is expected in the Muslim population, which has specific needs when it comes to food and beverages. A big gap currently exists in the market: not many companies understand how to adapt to these ethnic food needs, even as purchasing power increases every day. This creates opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

Even though not much research data is available about the buying behavior of this relatively new consumer group, a few trends have been observed based on the fastest-growing groups in Belgium: the Turkish and Moroccan population.

  • During Ramadan, the average shopping budget per family triples, mostly for purchases of quality and fresh products.
  • On average, people with a Turkish or Moroccan background eat more meat than Belgians.
  • Fresh products are preferred over frozen.
  • Shopping is usually done in smaller shops and markets.

As local companies are not yet meeting the needs of this growing population, Wisconsin companies can seize the opportunity. A commitment made to understanding cultural factors for the purpose of marketing to the Muslim population of Belgium will offer lessons for companies that apply to other markets as well.