By Hasan Mulani, Mumbai
Islam is one of the largest and fastest-growing religions in the world; over 25 per cent of the world’s population – about 1.75 billion – is Muslim or following Islam religion.
Food & beverage products prepared following a set of Islamic dietary laws and regulations, which determine what is permissible, lawful and clean, are classified as “Halal.”
Traditionally, Halal food & beverage products were offered in small Halal/ethnic speciality stores. But late 20th and early 21st century have witnessed a universal shift in the demand & supply chains of Halal food products. Every day, the demand & supply gap of Halal is widening thanks to quality and safety provided by Halal foods.
Now as Halal products have gained a larger presence in Europe and the Americas, they are being increasingly introduced to Western-style grocery stores such as supermarkets and hypermarkets. The expansion of Western-style retail food settings in Africa, the Middle-East and Asia has prompted companies to supply Halal food products through these chains in addition to traditional small ethnic specialty stores.
Region/Year Africa Asia Europe Australia/Oceania Americas Total Halal food market size($)
2009 150.6 billion 400.0 billion 66.6 billion 1.2 billion 16.1 billion 634.5 billion
2010 155.9 billion 418.1 billion 69.3 billion 1.6 billion 16.7 billion 661.6 billion
Source: World Halal Forum
Maulana Mehmood Raza, founder of Mumbai-based Imam Masood-e-Gaazi Charitable Trust, an NGO that aims at promoting Islamic education and culture, said, “The growth of Halal food market was not much affected by the global pecuniary depression. Major growth in Asia has been driven by changing lifestyles that allow for higher incomes. The largest contributors to the Halal market in Asia are India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. These countries have all seen substantial growth in the Halal food industry that is unlikely to be curbed in the near future.”
As per the research done by the Government of Canada, the global Halal foods market has grown quickly over the past decade and is estimated to be over $632 billion annually.
Strong economic growth and rising per capita incomes have fuelled demand for diversified Halal products, enabling higher consumption levels and more opportunities for Halal food producers.
Halal consumption is not limited only to the Muslim population; other consumer groups are seeking Halal food due to Halal food’s excellent reputation for healthy and safe food products, and the humane treatment of animals, the Government of Canada found in its study.
“Currently, there is plethora of opportunities for Halal-certified food products in non-majority Muslim markets like Europe and Australia, where consumers are looking for safe and ethical products. The increasing popularity of the Halal market in Europe is driven by Russia, France and the UK. The Halal market in these countries has continued growing since 2004, albeit at a slower pace than Asian markets. A major opportunity can be found in the Australia/Oceania region, where the Halal food market saw growth of 33.3% between 2009 and 2010,” S Siddiqui, f&b industry analyst, told F&B News.
Despite some variation in the elucidation of Halal requirements, they are generally minor. Main food items that are prohibited (Haram) under Islamic dietary laws include: swine/pork and its by-products, animals improperly slaughtered, alcohol and intoxicants, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, land animals without external ears, blood, contaminated foods and foods containing questionable ingredients such as gelatine, emulsifiers and enzymes. “Genetically-modified organisms and biotechnology raise new challenges for Halal certification. Regarding transgenic foods, plant-to-plant gene transfer is acceptable; however, animal-to-plant or animal-to-animal gene transfer is questionable and may, or may not, be acceptable. Preservatives are also questionable food ingredients, as well as other products used in the production of food including processing aids, lubricants, cleaning agents, sanitisers and packaging material,” Raza added.
According to the Canadian government, the most promising Halal markets span over a range of different countries. As the largest populations of Muslims are located in the Asia-Pacific region, both majority and non-majority Muslim countries in this region would have high demand for Halal products.
“Markets in North Africa and the Middle-East are particularly lucrative markets, as several countries have majority-Muslim populations. The Halal food industry is also growing in countries that have smaller populations of Muslims, but that have food quality and safety concerns, such as Australia, the US and European countries,” Abdul Rehman, maker & retailer of Halal foods in Mumbai, said.
Key Halal markets include India which has mammoth size food safety concerned population which also encompasses over 177 million Muslims. Other emerging markets are China (23 million Muslims), Russia (16 million Muslims), the Philippines (5 million Muslims), France (5 million Muslims), Germany (4 million Muslims) and the United Kingdom (3 million Muslims).
Ready-to-eat Halal Products
Several regions with large Muslim populations, including the Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and North Africa, have experienced busier lifestyles and increased incomes. With more income to dispose of, and less time to do so, there has been widespread demand for convenience products that still conform to Islamic dietary laws.
As a result, ready-to-eat meal solutions have become increasingly popular, and present a growing market for Halal food exporters. In addition, fast-food and take-away food has been growing in popularity, providing more opportunity for Canadian Halal exporters to fill this new demand.
Conversely, these countries have also been influenced by the global health and wellness trend, which has sparked demand for Halal health products. Some organisations have already begun offering premium beef, turkey and chicken products that are low fat, free of lactose, MSG, soya and gluten.
In India, larger middle income group ultimately widens the consumer market in the country. It becomes now the lucrative market for investors in the business of durable goods, processed food & beverages, real estates, financing, textile and travel etc. Competition between the companies has given greater choices to consumers among new style brands, products and services in the Indian market. According to the Halal India Management Board, potential market of Muslim customer is largely untapped and far behind to reach the investors due to their reservation to use only Halal products.
“More than 10 per cent of world’s Muslims live in India, which constitutes the third largest Muslim community in a country, after Indonesia and Pakistan. There are more than 175 million Muslims in India having approximately 15 per cent of total population with larger youth ratio, spread out in all states of India. Twenty districts have more than 50 per cent Muslim population in India while 68 districts having more than 25 per cent share in total population. Most of Muslims prefer to buy only Halal-certified products,” the Board said.
Further, due to increasing awareness among Muslim consumers on their religious obligations in recent years, the demand for Halal items is rising. “Larger share of younger Muslim population indicates the potentiality of stylish Halal brands in foodstuffs and other areas. It is pertinent to note that introduction of Halal tag with conventional products is not an identical campaign for Muslims but it only intends to include the Muslim consumers which are left out due to their religious limitation,” the Board added.
Sea change in world demographics and increasing global demand are resulting in new opportunities in the global Halal food market. The growing Muslim population will increase demand for Halal food products, and the emergent consumer market of non-Muslims who consume Halal food products for ethical and safety reasons will become increasingly important. Increasing incomes in majority-Muslim countries around the world have driven consumers to seek new and differentiated Halal-certified products that are not readily available in the market.
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