The supermarket has teamed up with Tahira Foods, its sole chilled halal meat supplier, to trial an enlarged, sectioned-off area 1.25m wide and spanning five shelves in the pre-packed meat aisle in its Streatham, Ilford, Hayes and Slough stores.
Sainsbury's has until now been selling fresh halal meat on two shelves at the end of its fish aisles in the 40 stores in which it stocks halal. The number of chilled Tahira-halal meat products it stocks in the trial stores has also been extended from eight to 17. Smoked beef sausages, turkey salami and two varieties of beef mortadella join the existing cuts of chicken and lamb.
The designated sections, exclusively supplied by Tahira, could potentially result in a doubling or trebling of sales, said Faiza Akmal, Sainsbury's account manager at Tahira. "The use of a separate, dedicated display, prominently located and signposted, provides a customer focus."
Halal also attracted custom from non-Muslim Afro-Caribbean communities, she added. Stores are making in-store announcements of the new range, and leaflets will be distributed outside local mosques.
If the trial goes well, Sainsbury's plans to extend the concept into other areas with high Muslim populations over the next 12 months. Both Tesco and Asda have introduced dedicated halal meat counters in some of their stores over the past two years.