COLOGNE: Halal-certified foods are expanding beyond the meat sector and appealing to consumers outside of the global Muslim community, according to experts speaking at Anuga 2021.
Live from the show floor, FoodIngredientsFirst talks to industry players promoting a range of halal food products from meat to dairy and confectionery to beverages. They emphasize how lucrative this growing segment is and underscore the certification’s connection to naturality, organic and clean label trends as well as a religious practice.
Also showcased at Anuga is a stand displaying exclusively Palestinian products, with representatives from Palestine urging the importance of halal produce imported from the region as a tool for women’s rights, land ownership and ecological preservation.
Ashraf el Tanbouly, CEO of the Islamic Chamber of Halal Certification (ICHS), notes industry players – regardless of their creed – have to be aware of the importance of the market.
“With over 24% of the world’s population in 57 countries and 1.9 billion Muslim consumers, gaining halal certification is your passport to a massive trade platform.”
“Muslims in non-Muslim countries care about consuming halal as much as Muslims in Muslim countries. So halal is sought after everywhere. Even some non-Muslims find halal food to be healthy and tasty.”
Anuga’s halal market
This year’s halal market, showcasing an array of different products, from olive oils to nuts and meats, is bringing together a group of businesses promoting halal-certified foods for Western markets.
Özel Aydin, general manager of Senit Global, a Turkish food import and export group, explains the market aims to demonstrate the diversity of halal products and how important it is to connect producers with buyers.
“The aim here is to offer a wide range of halal product markets in one spot. That means they can be participants at the show but they can be here in our booth too; we are a bridge, like a supermarket concept.”
“Halal is changing like vegan and kosher. Trends like vegan and clean labels are actually usually halal but often don’t utilize the halal certification, meaning it limits business customer profiles. It’s not only a trend, but it’s also a lifestyle,” he says.
“It combines all these news trends, not just a profile focused on Muslims. This is where it will go in the future.”
Anuga’s Palestinian market
Besides the show’s halal market, a line of Palestinian companies is highlighting the lucrative opportunities the halal market can bring to the Palestinian territories. Moreover, businesses based in the West Bank are capitalizing on the expansion of halal certifications to bring social and economic benefits to the region.
A spokesperson from Nakheel Palestine tells FoodIngredientsFirst that their exportation of Medjool dates, despite facing exportation restrictions, has gradually been thriving.
“We are here to find new markets, meet our existing clients and expand our presence in Western countries. Previously, Palestinian products were not being exported directly by Palestinian companies, but now we are achieving this and creating jobs. We’ve moved from a small family business to a major enterprise,” they say.
Despite “a lot of harassment” interfering with the exportation of halal products from the region, produce is steadily moving forward and reaching a wider consumer base, they assert.
Moreover, the halal market is providing opportunities for women throughout the West Bank, they explain, particularly in the packaging houses. Seasonal employees, mostly women, can support and empower their families through the business.
Peaceful resistance with halal
Subhi Anabtawi, director of development and cooperation at Al’Ard Palestinian Agri-Products, describes how the growth of the business – part of the Anabtawi Group – aims to become the first international goods produce company from Palestine.
“I would say this business is our way of having a peaceful resistance in terms of funding communities and the people of Palestine. We want to facilitate the trade and the women producers of our country so they can raise their children, increase their land and improve their lives with dignity,” he says.
“Palestine is not just about war. We do have economy, trade and a lot to offer,” Anadtawi concludes.
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