SHAFAQNA- Approximately 25 per cent of the world’s population is Muslim and it is evident that there are segments of global markets that adhere to their religious requirements.
Halal, an Arabic word defined as permissible according to Islamic law, is required in the consumption of both goods and services for Muslims.
The halal industry is a rapidly expanding sector not only in the food and beverage market but also in many other markets including cosmetics and healthcare.
Halal products are found worldwide but the most rapid expansion is being seen in mainland Europe and the US. Halal has thus become a global market force that spans into meat and poultry, food manufacturing, food retailing, restaurant chains, food service industry, logistics and shipping, Islamic banking and finance, standards/auditing/certifications, science and new technologies and personal care products.
While most products such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and beauty and personal care products can entail a halal label, clothing and footwear are an exception, and for services only food service can acquire a physical halal certification.
Although this is the case, it is still necessary for Muslims to lead the halal way of life, which means ensuring their consumption, behavior, dressing, social interactions and every other aspect is aligned with Islamic beliefs.
Forbidden ingredients of halal foods include animals that are dead or dying prior to slaughter, blood and blood byproducts, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, land animals without external ears, animals killed in the name of anything other than Allah.
From a Muslim consumer standpoint, products are deemed halal when they are produced without any forbidden ingredients, be proven to be in the interest of the consumer’s health and wellbeing, must be clean, hygienic and have supply chain integrity.
They must also benefit the community from which they came and all ingredients must be traceable at each stage of production.
Some global trends in the halal industry
According to a Thomson Reuters report, halal food made up nearly 17 per cent of the total world food market in 2013. And according to a report commissioned by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the global halal market would be worth US$1.6 trillion (RM6.8 trillion) by 2018, an increase from US$1.1 trillion in 2013 and growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9 per cent.
The focus imposed on the halal industry in the Middle East is quite notable in the recent times. The UAE is preparing to cater for the growing demand as the UAE government has recently announced setting up of a “Halal Cluster”, a 6.7 million square feet land in Dubai Industrial City, for firms dealing in halal food, cosmetics, and personal care items.