Halal Consumer Magazine
Mujahed Khan, who has an MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration, joined us earlier this year as a Food Technologist. He has a B.Sc. degree in Nutrition with a minor in Biology. His prior experience includes working as a R&D Scientist at Kerry Bio-Science, and at Walgreen’s Pharmacy. His certifications include Food Service Sanitation Manager by Illinois Department of Public Health, ServSafe Manager by National Restaurant Association, licensed pharmacy technician by the State of Illinois and certification as a pharmacy technician by National Pharmacy Technician Board. He is also a member of the American Dietetic Association, Illinois Dietetic Association and West-Suburban Dietetics Association.
“Using Halal Certification to Your Marketing Advantage” was the theme of the 11th International Halal Food Conference, held in Chicago on April 19 & 20, 2009. The two day conference was attended by representatives of halal certifying agencies, IFANCA halal-certified companies, as well as universities, support agencies, and others interested in the halal industry.
The keynote address was given by Tan Sri Prof. Dr. Syed Jalaludin, Chairman, Halal Industry Development Corporation, Malaysia. Dr. Jalaludin discussed the need to come together and think globally in order to take the halal industry forward. He suggested creating an international organization open to any one engaged in the halal industry, with the aim of exchanging ideas and information and, providing a networking environment for business development, and to promote research and education. The organization would play a catalytic role in growing new companies and supporting halal consumers around the world.
Presentations at the conference were of varied topics, with the main theme being the need for cooperation, globalization, and collaboration to encourage the industry to bring more halal products to Muslim consumers, in a more cooperative environment. To this end, the participants supported a declaration to establish a World Halal Industry Federation, as suggested by Dr. Jalaludin.
Speakers represented the following IFANCA halal-certified companies, universities, support organizations and halal certifying agencies: Access Business Group, Firmenich Inc., Lallemand, Abbott Nutrition, Cargill, Wyeth Biotech, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, Texas A&M University, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Halal Industry Development Corporation, Malaysia, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) also known as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), Malaysia, Halal Certification Process in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, IFANCA and IFANCA Asia Pacific
The conference was concluded with a banquet sponsored by Coca Cola Company; Nutrilite, (part of Access Business Group); Cargill Inc. (one of the major producers of ingredients) Golden State Foods (a major supplier to McDonald’s) and Sunrider International.
Keynote Speaker Mary Anne Jackson addressed the banquet attendees. Ms. Jackson is president and founder of My Own Meals, Inc. and J&M Food Products Co. In her charismatic style, Ms. Jackson emphasized the importance of independent certifying organizations in the evolving halal industry. The banquet was concluded with an awards ceremony.
IFANCA would like to thank all the speakers and attendees who made the 11th International Halal Food Conference a success, as well as all IFANCA halal-certified companies for their continued support.
Nashville, Tennessee, home to Graceland, the Dixie Chicks and all things Country, now has 29 halal food restaurants and it’s not just Muslims who frequent them, says a report in The Tennessean ( 4/29/2009). Seven years was all it took for Nashville to go from a one-halal restaurant city to one that boasts an entire corridor that begins just south of Interstate 440. For the nation’s estimated 2.3 million to 6.4 million [IFANCA estimate 6-8 million] Muslims, who are concerned about the content of their diet and the impact of food production on the environment, the pursuit of halal food is a matter of health and faith, said one expert.
Packaged Foods released a first-ever market research report analyzing Halal foods in depth. IFANCA lent their expertise towards the compilation of the report. Titled “Market Trend: Kosher- and Halal-Certified Foods in the U.S.”, it stated that, “Certification enhances the desirability of a company’s products to a broader customer base in the U.S.– provided marketers ensure consumers are made aware of the third-party endorsement.” Halal certification also expands opportunities for export to Muslim countries and, although the Muslim population in the US is tiny, at 0.6 percent according to the report [IFANCA estimates 2.5%], Muslims account for better than one in five people in the world, expected to increase to 30 percent by 2025, meaning “extraordinarily promising export opportunities”.
Further, “Canada presents broadening market opportunities for halal foods, with the number of Canadian Muslims set to double from 600,000 in 2000 to 1,200,000 in 2010, and a lack of convenient outlets for halal foods.”
The report also stated that ethical consumerism is on the rise and consumers seem to be increasingly conscientious when it comes to the health and well-being of animals. With this rise, says the Packaged Foods report, there will be an increase in sales of halal meats, as well. This is because halal implies that the animal has been treated respectfully in life and in death.
Ethnic food sales are leaping, but it’s not just immigrants who are buying. 75% of ethnic foods in the U.S. are purchased by the average nonimmigrant American. Consumers are demanding exotic, authentic flavors. This, in combination with the call for natural products, has created the perfect grounds for halal to turn mainstream.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) reports that it’s not just Muslims who are purchasing halal. In the past, in North America, store owners didn’t know what halal meat was let alone stock it. Today, in sharp contrast, according to AAFC, there are a growing number of non-Muslim consumers purchasing halal food products due to the awareness that halal is safer, healthier, and more socially responsible. Whether it be due to humane animal treatment concerns or the desire for healthier and safer foods, halal has begun to appeal to a growing number of consumers outside of the Muslim community. There is a growing perception of halal as a mark of quality, amongst the general public.
It’s a development that North American food manufacturers are taking notice of. After all, the AAFC estimates that 1.2 million Muslims are expected to call Canada home by 2010, a 50% increase from the current 600,000. “The Canadian market for halal meat products is valued at more than $214 million, with Muslim households spending an average $31 per week on such goods.” Canada’s neighbor has long since surpassed the 1.2 million mark. America’s six to eight million Muslims contribute to an estimated $12 billion industry. The rise in North America’s ethnic and religious diversity will result in an increased scope and demand for mainstream halal food.
By 2015, the AAFC predicts the global halal industry to become the fastest growing segment in international trade, with figures projected to reach $2.1 trillion. Furthermore, according to Middle East Food, with the Muslim population projected to account for 30% of the world’s population by 2025, halal food could easily account for 20% of world trade in food products in the future.
Emirates Airlines has always provided a full halal menu, and pampers their passengers with multi-course meals.
Now, Thai Airways has joined the halal airwaves. Thai Airways consistently ranks among the top airlines for high quality, unique cuisine. They are taking it one step further by responding to requests for halal meals on flights. A separate kitchen at Thailand’s international airport is now fully certified by the Thai Institute for Halal Food Standards* to conform to halal regulations. At this time, halal-certified meals are only served on international flights. Thai Airways also provides meals for 10 customer airlines, all of which are national carriers of Islamic-majority countries. While the current demand is 5000 halal meals per day, further growth is expected.
When flying with other airlines, be sure to check the halal regulations before requesting your meal of choice. Some halal meals are not zabiha, rather only pork-free. Specifications for halal meals, as well as other dietary options are usually available on the airline website, or by calling customer service.
* IFANCA recognizes the Thai Institute for Halal Food Standards as an accredited halal certifier.
Khalfan Mohammed, writes Carla Powers in TIME Magazine, has traded holidays in hotels with loud discos, drunken guests and women in bikini’s for a stay at a Dubai-based hotel catering to Muslim travelers, where Islamic customs are respected and mini-bars are stocked only with non-alcoholic beverages. It is all part of a larger trend that is bolstered by, “the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims (who) are younger and, in some places at least, richer than ever.” An excerpt: “…The halal food market has exploded in the past decade and is now worth an estimated $632 billion annually… That’s about 16% of the entire global food industry. Throw in the fast-growing Islam-friendly finance sector and the myriad other products and services — cosmetics, real estate, hotels, fashion, insurance — that comply with Islamic law and the teachings of the Quran, and the sector is worth well over $1 trillion a year.”