As the Muslim world celebrates the holy month of Ramadan, New food spoke to the nut maker Besana about a new product specially developed for the festival.
Besana’s new product was specially developed for Ramadan
Ramadan is one of the most important periods on the Muslim calendar. For nearly two billion Muslims around the world, it is a month of prayer and reflection, with fasting at the heart of the festival.
New food spoke to the head of research and development at Rita Iacoviello (RI) in Besana about the nut manufacturer’s latest product, which is specially tailored for Ramadan.
Q: What is Ramadan?
RI: Ramadan is a festival that takes place in the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, principles considered compulsory by Muslims, basic actions ordered by Allah or God. Throughout the month, Muslims are encouraged to be spiritual and charitable, and to express self-control and kindness. At night, Muslims visit mosques for a special prayer (taraweeh), which is only held during Ramadan.
During the festival, Muslims do not eat or drink in daylight. They eat early in the morning before sunrise (suhoor or sehri), fast during the day and end with dinner (iftar or fitoor). Muslims view their fasting as a special act of worship, an opportunity to be closer to God, and a method of developing compassion and understanding for those in need.
Q: Why did Besana launch a product specifically for Ramadan?
RI: For years Besana has created bespoke products for festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Ramadan and the Chinese New Year. Besana specializes in the development of elaborately composed articles that take certain customs and culinary habits into account. As a result, we optimize our fillings and chocolate coatings. Our Medjool Date Selection, ‘Ramadan Kareem’, was launched for the second time in a row in collaboration with M&S.
Q: How is the product suitable for those who celebrate Ramadan?
RI: Ramadan Kareem is a pampering selection of overcrowded, filled, and chocolate-covered Medjool dates. Dates have many health benefits for fasting Muslims. Dates are high in sugar, which, unlike usual, is a good thing as blood sugar can get low while fasting. A strong source of sugar is a necessary ingredient to energize the community during the holy festival of Ramadan. If you break the fast in the evening, dates can also aid digestion and prevent stomach upset, as large amounts of food are ingested after eating for such a long time.
Dates are of great importance in the Islamic faith
Q: What research was involved in developing the product?
RI: The date box was created after extensive research that focused on certain aspects of Ramadan. We also carry out this analysis for other festivities. The selection consists of several aromatic products. Dates come from the Middle East and North Africa and are a typical food consumed in Ramadan. We filled them with special nut and fruit mixes, which makes them a perfect treat for the festival.
Q: When creating a product for Ramadan, should anything be avoided (e.g. certain ingredients)?
RI: When developing a product that is specifically tailored for the Muslim community, serious consideration must be given to the exact ingredients. A good take on the process is that we should be just as careful as we are when considering allergies and the health benefits of our products. Our product has been specially adapted for Ramadan and is therefore suitable for Muslims to eat.
Q: Why is dates so closely related to the festival?
RI: Dates are of great importance in the Islamic faith – the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is quoted With the words: “If any of you are fasting, let him break his fast with dates.” Dates therefore have a special spiritual meaning. In addition, the hot climate of the Middle East has provided the perfect conditions for date palms for thousands of years. We pride ourselves on promoting the longstanding spiritual tradition for the Muslim community across the UK.
Q: What were your considerations when designing the packaging for the product?
RI: When designing the packaging, we had two main goals: to present the delicious, handcrafted dates to potential customers and to create a worthy product to support the Muslims during their holy festival.
Our delicious selection is neatly packaged in a square 350g tray, making it the perfect gift box for Muslims during the festival. The transparent cover offers a glimpse into the bespoke product, while the dark green sleeve is reminiscent of the sacred color of Islam.
Q: Is Besana working on other products for Ramadan or other religious festivals?
RI: Besana is constantly developing new ideas for other world festivals – we have been working on the Christmas collection since the beginning of the year. After the positive experience with the Ramadan Kareem box, we will continue to actively work on product lines for other religious festivals around the world, which, as already mentioned, include Diwali and the Chinese New Year, to name a few.