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How did retailers prepare for this year’s Ramadan?

By Chris Elliott

This year, the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan began on 18 June and concluded on 17 July with Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide – the month of fasting during daylight hours commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. Traditionally, observers consume a pre-dawn meal of dates and water before morning prayer and then a rich, filling, evening meal, Iftar.

Throughout Ramadan families come together to dine, and both meals are often served as a buffet, with a large amount of food prepared and served.

The Times predicted that supermarkets would see a sales uplift of £100 million this year, as Muslims stocked up on essentials and bought in bulk ahead of and during Ramadan.

Basmati rice pricing analysis

Brand View has reviewed the average shelf price per kg of bulk basmati rice (products 1 kg or over) in Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Asda and Tesco had the lowest average price per kg at £1.71. Both retailers steadily reduced their average shelf price from 15 May 2015 and then increased it on 22 July, five days after Ramadan had ended.

Sainsbury’s reduced the price of Tilda basmati rice on 30 June; as a result, Sainsbury’s average price per kg closely matched Morrisons for the last 18 days of Ramadan, despite Morrisons having a lower average shelf price throughout the year.Ramadan Icon fact 2

Waitrose had a significantly higher average shelf price than the big four supermarkets. This is partly due to the premium nature of the products listed, but also because it listed smaller pack sizes than its rivals.

average shelf price per kg of rice

Eid-al-Fitr year-on-year analysis

On Eid-al-Fitr, the ‘festival of the breaking of the fast’, Muslims gather together to eat, pray and celebrate the completion of Ramadan. Eid fell on 28 July 2014 and 17 July 2015, as Ramadan is celebrated according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

This year, the five supermarkets analysed offered greater depths of cut on bulk basmati rice products than in 2014.

Morrisons had the greatest average depth of cut this year at 39.7 percent – it heavily promoted its Amira basmati rice range, including a half price promotion on the 1kg bag.

The depth of cut offered by Waitrose increased the most year-on-year; averaging 12.6 percent in 2014, and 37.8 percent in 2015, second only to Morrisons’ 39.7 percent.

depth of cut rice

Asda and Tesco only promoted two bulk basmati rice products on Eid-al-Fitr 2014, the fewest of all five retailers. Both supermarkets significantly increased the number of promotions in 2015; Tesco promoted twelve products and Asda ten.

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both reduced the number of bulk basmati rice promotions this year to four and five products respectively.

number rice on promo

Halal fresh meat analysis

Ramadan pie charts

Ramadan shopping basket

Brand View has created a basket of essential Ramadan items and compared the total price of the basket in Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco on Eid-al-Fitr 2015 (17 July 2015). The products in the Ramadan basket have been chosen because they are commonly listed across all retailers analysed and they do not necessarily reflect the choices of a Ramadan shopper.

Waitrose was excluded from this analysis as it does not list any halal meat products on its website – when you search for ‘halal’ it returns zero results.

Sainsbury’s was the cheapest retailer for the Ramadan basket at £27.80 – 88p cheaper than Tesco.

Asda placed third – its basket was just 2p more expensive than Tesco.

Heatmap Ramadan

Morrisons was the most expensive retailer at £30.93; its basket cost £3.13 more than the cheapest retailer Sainsbury’s.

Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s pricing was the same for Napolina Chopped Tomatoes 4x400g and Tilda Everyday Basmati Rice 4kg. Tesco was the most expensive retailer for the Napolina Chopped Tomatoes, charging double that of its competitors.

Morrisons had the lowest price on five items, however was £2.99 more expensive that the three other retailers for the Tilda Everyday Basmati Rice. If Morrisons price matched for this product it would have been the second cheapest retailer, just 14p more expensive than Sainsbury’s.


Our analysis shows that for Ramadan 2015 retailers increased the average depth of cut across promotions, as well as the number of lines on promotion, compared to previous years.

With over three million Muslims in the UK, retailers will no doubt look to develop and optimise Ramadan promotions next year.

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