Ramadan sparks Lebanon meat sales increase

By Paul Cochrane

- Last updated on GMT

Chicken coated in spices is a popular choice in Lebanese souks during Ramadan
Chicken coated in spices is a popular choice in Lebanese souks during Ramadan

Related tags Beef Poultry

Meat suppliers in Lebanon were boosted by a surge in meat sales during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

Hovig Kozobiokian, managing partner of Dekerco, a meat and food importer in Beirut, estimated demand increased by around 50% to 60% for round cuts during Ramadan, with often a spike in demand in the last week for the Eid El-Fitr festival that ends the holy month. Overall, frozen meat sales during Ramadan account for 12% to 13% of yearly sales, he told GlobalMeatNews.

Meat demand surges in Lebanon during Ramadan, with beef and chicken proving particularly popular. Unlike the rest of the Middle East, lamb is not very popular in the country, where around two-thirds of the 4.5 million population is Muslim. “Demand is usually strong during Ramadan, but for lower-end beef products, the round cuts and top sides, not for high end cuts, like loins,​” said Kozobiokian. The rise of chicken sales during Ramadan tends to spark a 30% increase in imported chicken.

No land for livestock

Also, Islamic charities often buy containers of imported beef and mutton to be distributed among poorer Muslim families: “Some of our suppliers sell directly to these organisations,​” said Kozobiokian.

Nearly all meat is imported in this small 10,452 square km country, which is about half the size of Wales, with Lebanon not having enough land for livestock. Chicken supplies, however, are primarily domestic due to high import taxes at $1.33 per kilo. The majority of meat is imported from Argentina and Brazil, as well as from Europe. Demand for meat during Ramadan was significantly higher prior to the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, due to tourists coming to Lebanon for the Eid Al Fitr holiday, as well as exports to Syria, which have largely ceased.

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