Branding key to halal foods

Thailand needs to stress Muslim links

Branding and the standard of purity of halal
food products are the key challenges to Thailand’s entry into the
growing global halal market.

Despite the government’s long-standing efforts to transform the
country into one of the world’s leading halal products exporters, the
goal has yet to be accomplished.

According to Nordin Abdullah, deputy chairman of the World Halal
Forum, the standard of purity of Thai halal products is always in
question because Thailand is not a Muslim country.

Halal, which means permissible in Islamic doctrine, covers a wide
range of products from food, personal-care items and even financial

Thailand has a large Muslim population and the government and food
producers should look at building a Halal brand around this little
known fact, said Mr Abdullah.

Currently, the global halal market for food products alone is valued
at US$580 billion. If Islamic financial products are included, the
market size would surge to US$1 trillion.

”The growth rate is very high. This is simply because Muslim
populations are growing at a faster rate, especially in Europe, where
the purchasing power of Muslims is higher,” said Mr Abdullah.

The disposable incomes of Muslims in Southeast Asia and in the
Middle East have also increased because of higher education and the
burgeoning Muslim middle class.

Thailand, with its high potential in developing food products,
should tackle the problems at the root and stand ready to take up

He suggested that for food products, local operators should identify
a definite Islamic emphasis and apply it to marketing and branding,
especially in the area of packaging.

The exporters should also increase their links with overseas trade partners in order to penetrate new markets.

Optionally, they could forge ties with producers in major producing
countries such as Australia, Brazil and China. They could import from
these countries and then add value to the products and exporting them
throughout the world, Mr Abdullah said.

Thailand should also join hands with Malaysia to form an integrated halal supply hub to increase trade activities.

With these improvements, Mr Abdullah expects to see more foreign
investments to produce halal products in Thailand by making use of the
country’s abundant agricultural resources.

To co-develop a set of standard and specifications of halal, the
fourth World Halal Forum will be held on May 18-19 in Kuala Lumpur,
with a focus on achieving global halal integrity.

The forum will include 2,500 trade delegates, Halal industry
stakeholders, academics, researchers and Shariah experts who will
gather to address issues related to its development to shape the growth
and progress of the Halal industry globally.