Brunei Halal eyes wider market

Brunei Halal products on display.

Goh De No

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BRUNEI Halal brand’s marketing and trading agency is looking at two countries within the region as potential markets following the initial success of its entry in the Singapore market.

Noel Shield, interim chief executive officer of Ghanim International Food Corporation Sdn Bhd, said: “We are still negotiating with other companies, but to get in a country is not an easy task.

“You can’t just turn on the tap as there are a lot of negotiations and hard work involved,” he told The Brunei Times. “Most importantly, you have to have the right products.”

Ghanim launched products under Brunei Halal on October 8 this year. The goods are now available at one of the city-state’s largest retailers, NTUC (National Trade Union Congress) FairPrice Cooperative Ltd. Agency executives are “happy with the sales for all the products” so far, Shield said.

The brand’s presence in Singapore marks another significant step for the Sultanate, as efforts to leverage on Brunei’s stringent halal certification is now coming to fruition.

This, Shield said, reinforces what Ghanim has believed all along that the brand has got a lot to offer, as product sales across the board have been good.

Asked how the response from Singapore’s consumers has been, Shield said: “The public’s response is way beyond what we expected. The communities are very much behind the brand and product sales across the range have exceeded (our) expectations.”

He did not give sales figures although he said, “Currently, we’ve got more orders on the way. Most of the products are available, but we haven’t gotten permission to bring in a few into Singapore.”

He said the positive market response further confirms that the perception of Brunei’s halal standards is high. One of the possibilities why the products are selling so well is the fact that consumers have the confidence and trust in Brunei Halal brand and its accreditation system, he added.

This is Ghanim’s first export and Shield said it is something that they have been planning for and are pleased that they have achieved the target. No figures were available.

NTUC FairPrice is the exclusive partner for the Brunei Halal Brand in Singapore.

Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Haji Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar in June this year expressed concerns on getting global acceptance for Brunei’s standards and certification.

“It is a challenge for others to recognise our certification because other countries have their own standards, but they may not accept ours so it’s quite difficult,” he said.

However, Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said Brunei’s intention is not out of obligation, but is out of sincerity and the country’s religious duty.

“Halal products and ways, according to our principles. Those are all ideas of Brunei Halal’s point of view and those are all stringent, strict and thorough processes. We don’t leave it to commercial entities or private sectors to certify for us.,” he said. The Brunei Times