Exploring halal opportunities in a growing market

The scope and sphere of the food manufacturing/processing sector continues to adjust to dynamic changes in the marketplace. Various issues are coming together to shape food buying habits i.e. demography, culture, ethnicity, religion, healthy lifestyles and environmental concerns. Consumers are not only interested in what they eat. They are interested in where food comes from and how it’s processed and manufactured.

Suppliers are taking notice of this complex scenario and the new doors and avenues that need to be explored. A case in point is the opportunities presented by the growing halal market.

Halal is both a global and a regional market at the same time. The halal cuisine concept is gaining awareness and is ready to be explored on regional and international levels. The demand for healthy, natural and nutritious food is definitely on the priority list for global and regional consumers. Halal fits right into the equation of this demanding market.

Halal is not a new food concept. It has been around for over 1400 years and encompasses cuisines from Africa, Asia, Europe, North-America, India, and Russia.

The rich history of the halal food concept is steadily finding its way into the mainstream market in North America. It is no longer just an ethnic niche market. Halal foods by their very nature have universal appeal not only with meat products but with other food categories as well.

Let’s look at some benefits offered by halal foods:

  • Satisfies growing base of informed consumers with large purchasing power
  • Provides variety
  • Eco and environment friendly
  • Fair treatment of animals
  • Natural and healthy quality ingredients

Sectors that can mutually enhance halal food business:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels & restaurants
  • Catering & special functions
  • Halal travel & tourism
  • University & school system
  • Hospitals
  • Industrial canteens
  • Franchise operations

The transition to halal production can be realized with minimum investment and minimum adjustment to existing GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedures. Companies who are already engaged in halal production know the unlimited potential of this lucrative market. To navigate this market, halal compliance may only require minor changes to existing manufacturing and processing protocols.

As the halal concept continues gaining momentum throughout the world, non-halal consumers are increasingly being attracted. The reason is that halal food are regulatory compliant, safely produced and packaged, and consist of high quality natural ingredients.  In addition they are cost efficient to produce.

The current estimated global halal market is now over $ 1 trillion. It is an established and growing market. By 2025 halal consumers will account for over 30 percent of the global market. Halal opportunities are not just food related. They extend to pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, sports beverages as well as tourism & travel.

As more and more companies are seriously looking at entering the halal market, they are   finding the transition can be made with minimal changes to their existing manufacturing procedures. Many companies are already halal compliant, they may just require certification to enter the market. The halal market is growing… and worth exploring.

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* M.Ehsan Sairally is the Director of HPDS-Canada (Halal Product Development Services in Canada). HPDS is a member of WHC (World Halal Council) and AAHC (Association of American Halal Certifiers.) (www.halalproductservices.com)

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