BEIRUT: Competition between the hundreds of mom-and-pop confectioners, boutique chocolatiers and international candy brands scattered throughout Lebanon is fierce all year round, but during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr the fight for the loyalty of Lebanese consumers reaches a fever pitch. The sheer number of small, family-run sweets establishments in Lebanon and high turnover among new retail outlets makes it difficult to obtain precise figures on the local market, but there are over 100 companies listed in the Association of Lebanese Industrialists’ guide to confectionery exporters in the country.

While other segments of the retail market have suffered this year, five Arabic confectionery companies interviewed by The Daily Star all agreed that while the field is crowded, sellers of sweets – helwayat in Arabic – have fared comparatively well this year.

“Competition has always been bad, but now it is the worst,” said Simone Douaihy, who runs the eponymous sweets company his father established in northern Ehden in 1936 along with his siblings. [Link]