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The Global Rise of the Halal Food Industry continued.

The restrictions of a halal diet are all foods that are not halal (permitted) or are considered haram (forbidden) according to Islamic law. Foods that are not halal are listed as prohibited in the Qur’an or Hadith which is the Islamic religious text. Some examples of forbidden foods include:

• Animal fat
• Gelatin
• Alcohol
• Pork or any pork products
• Rennet

The list continues on and includes such things as lipase, enzymes, l-cysteine, and tallow which can act as ingredients and may not be as easy to avoid when buying food at grocery stores or eating out at a restaurant. There are also certain food preparation standards that must be followed in order for the meat or poultry to be considered halal. This includes detailed practices on how animals that are used for human consumption should be slaughtered.

Processed food is difficult for those who are halal to distinguish whether it follows halal standards because of the high number of ingredients processed foods contain. In addition, the uncertainty regarding the preparation rituals and slaughtering practices for meat make it challenging to determine if it follows halal. All of these factors can make it hard for those following a halal diet to find products and restaurants that follow these standards. Halal certifications allow consumers to easily identify the products that align with their dietary restrictions.

For a product to be marked as halal the manufacture must get approval and a certification from a halal certification company. There are a number of certification companies in the U.S. that can provide this service. This process includes an audit of the factory which produces the foods as well as identifying all raw materials and ingredients of other products produced in the same facility. Since there are a variety of certification companies in the U.S., there is not a single regulatory body that governs the entire halal market. This means that standards can vary. This also means that the data on halal certified foods is not as extensive or thorough as other certifications such as organic of kosher. It is clear, however, that there are significant increases in the demand and production of halal foods not only in the U.S. but also worldwide

Though the halal certification process is extensive, many U.S. companies are willing to pay and audited to receive halal certification. Big name grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Albertsons, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Costco carry halal certified foods in many of their locations. These retailors have recognized the increasing demand for halal foods and are leading the way to be relevant in a growing market. According to Nielsen, recent sales for halal foods in the U.S. reached $1.9 billion, and Thomson Reuters has pegged the global market value at about $415 billion. (www.npr.com, You Might Be Eating Halal Meat and Not Even Know It, 5 April 2018).

The increase in halal foods can be seen worldwide. Halal foods had a global market value of approximately 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2017 and are expected to reach 2.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2023. (www.statista.com, Market Value of Halal Foods Worldwide…, March 2018). Consumers can expect to start seeing more halal certified foods in mainstream grocery markets as food manufacturers are realizing this market growth potential.

Those who do not follow a halal diet for religious reasons see halal as a healthier option. In addition, it is moral choice as the slaughtering practices of animals some feel are more humane. Halal can be considered healthier as it reduces one’s intake of animal fats and alcohol. This aligns with the global food movement towards “clean” eating. As consumers become more conscious of their diets and slaughtering practices, it is reflected in their purchasing choices.

Halal slaughter practices are no slower than other production methods, halal meat is also an opportunity for US companies to export to other countries. Eight of the 10 largest suppliers of global halal meat are non-Muslim majority countries, with Brazil, Australia and India the top exports. (www.aljezeera.com, Where does halal meat come from? 26 November 2018). As U.S. food producers begin distribution of halal products in their domestic market, they are also allowing themselves access to an international market that is continuing to grow at double digit rates annually. Consumption of halal foods is not only followed by Muslims but also non-Muslims. Whatever the reason one choses to follow a halal diet, the numbers are continuing to rise exponentially and companies are reacting to this change by expanding their product portfolio. To stay competitive in the U.S. and global markets it is critical to recognize trends and stay innovative as food preferences continue to evolve.

Kimberly Maloney and Peter Guyer Athena Marketing International (AMI) is a leading international marketing, export sales management and business development firm. We assist U.S. food, beverage, nutrition and consumer goods manufacturers seeking to expand global sales and brand awareness.
Tel. +1 (206) 462-4889
www.athenaintl.com



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