Enter The Goat.


This week we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha - the Feast of The Sacrifice - also known Bakri Eid where I come from. (Bakri is the word for goat in several South Asian languages.)
It is a celebration with ancient Abrahamic roots and commemorates the scriptural episode known as The Sacrifice of Ibrahim/Abraham. 
Typically a family with sufficient means leads a fatted goat or ram to the slaughter. For those who observe the tradition, the meat is ideally then shared: a 3rd for one's own family, a third for friends and relatives and a 3rd for the poor.  The mood of this year's celebration will no doubt be tempered by the tragic Haj stampede on the outskirts of Mecca, and our thoughts go out to those who have lost someone dear to them. 
Still,  for the vast majority of Muslims around the world, the celebration will take place as it always does. Families will gather for the traditional prayers, followed by the traditional feasting. As with most celebrations, food is at the centre of it all, and the food at the centre is likely to be goat.
Food is at the centre of it all, and the food at the centre is likely to be goat.
It's a very big deal if you're in the grocery business, like our client, Sobeys. Billions of dollars are spent globally at this time. In Pakistan, an estimated US$3bn is spent each Bakri Eid on some 10 million livestock.
What of Canada? Well, Canada's Muslim population grew some 82% over the last decade. The Value Chain Management Centre, in a 2011 paper examining the challenges and opportunities for Canada's specialty food market, reported an extraordinary concentration: 59% of Canada's Muslims live in Toronto and Mississauga. A 2009 study estimated the Canadian domestic halal meat market at C$214 million annually. Muslims households were found to spend C$31 per week on (halal) meat products, almost double the non-Muslim Canadian household weekly average of C$17. In 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture noted that the size of the Canadian halal food market had reached $1bn in an amendment to the Food and Drug Regulations that promoted clearer halal labelling.  
This is big business. This is big business for the foreseeable future.
This is big business. This is big business for the foreseeable future. It's my hope that Chalo FreshCo, the store we helped Sobeys brand and launch, will achieve record-breaking sales over these days.
Which is why our multicultural wish for Eid-ul-Adha comes with smile included - a smile for all but the unfortunate goat.
A small sacrifice for a great biryani.
Eid Mubarak to those celebrating.
Gavin Barrett is Ideawallah at Barrett and Welsh, a Toronto agency that specializes in the new Canada, a magical place where all cultures are understood, shared and enjoyed and the ideas are delicious, meaty and aromatic with spices.

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