Companies go where the green is. That’s simply how they survive, grow and expand. In this particular sense, they don’t really see gender, ethnicity, or religion because at the end of the day it really is all about the money. And although this basic business rule can certainly have disturbing, negative aspects attached to it, it can also have great positives to it as well. For instance, organic products are provided by more and more markets because of the push for eco-friendly products by eco-friendly people. This green movement has expanded so much that is has branched out far beyond the supermarket and has reached other industries including clothing, tools, and cleaning products and it only continues to burgeon because the demand is growing. At this point in time, all companies are expected to or trying to “go green” in one way or another to please their consumers.
Correspondingly, if the size of a certain population grows steadily, even if they are a minority, businesses should take note because the simple, successful business equation goes like this: more people = more consumers= more potential $$$. And, in the case for the growing Muslim population, businesses are opening their eyes to a whole new group of consumers.
According to Huffington Post’s journalist Annalisa Musarra “Muslim consumers are growing in the U.S. and they have money to spend. Now, businesses are starting to take notice.” Muslims have “an estimated disposable income of between $107 billion and $124 billion” which means that businesses can take great advantage of this opportunity by studying their wants and needs and providing products and services that fulfill those wants and needs. If this is accomplished, then both sides will be pretty happy. Businesses will generate profit and Muslims –who, I’d argue are the most misunderstood people on the planet– will deeply appreciate being not just heard, but served.
But it’s obviously not just Muslims –it’s all groups of people—that have the ability to “influence the market” when their size and high demand makes a statement. In the United States alone, there are 2.8 million American Muslims*, a number which only continues to grow. Of these millions of Muslims, many are often specific in their choice of foods, clothing, and more. Thus, if industries in “food, retail and finance” cater some of their products or create new products to meet Muslim needs, such as by offering halal foods in grocery stores for instance, they are reaching out to consumers that will likely respond in a really healthy way.
Hence, it isn’t such a great surprise that “Many brands are playing catch-up.” On a broader scale for me, this means the equalization of Muslims as regular citizens (which entails the notion of being a consumer). Perhaps business and money, entities that don’t judge one’s religion and blindly criticize, can be one of the pathways that Muslims can become less stereotyped as a group of people that “don’t want to be a part of or participate in American culture” and instead be more integrated into American society. The reality is that the ultra-vast majority of Muslims are indeed law-abiding citizens who only have a few simple needs that we would like to have met. Supermarkets provide kosher foods, so why can’t they provide halal foods? What harm could this possibly do on any respectable scale? Moreover, our presence in such diverse industries can really reflect not only our want to be a more important and recognized part of the richly diverse American culture, but also our wish to remain in it for generations and generations to come.
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*For some reason I think this statistic is incorrect. I believe other sources cite 7 million.