Canada: Halal Food Festival returns to Toronto for 3rd year

logoToronto, May 14, 2015 – The GTA is home to 47 per cent of Canada’s Muslim community*, which makes it a natural fit to host the upcoming Halal Food Fest 2015 on May 30-31 at The International Centre in Mississauga. The event, now in its third year, is the largest halal food festival in North America, with over 27,000 visitors in 2014 and even more expected this year from across the U.S. and Canada.

The event brings dozens of food exhibitors, in-house chefs, and guest chefs, including Master Chef Canada runner-up Marida Mohammed, together for two days of sampling and programming focused on halal food. Exhibitors include The Holy Grill, a halal food truck launched by Toronto chef Aleem Syed, halal burger joint Burger Factory and a chef collaborative with Sargent Farms. Some notable and diverse offerings from vendors include Belgian Waffle S’mores, Virgin Masala Margaritas, and Jerk Fried Chicken. In addition to food there will also be stage shows, workshops, and seminars on the booming halal food industry.

“We’re extremely excited to be bringing Halal Food Fest back for a third year,” said Salima Jivraj, Founder, Halal Food Fest. “Almost a fifth of last year’s visitors were tourists from all across North America, which reflects the increase in demand for halal products, and shows that the event has really become a destination for people looking to sample and learn about halal food options.”

Canada’s halal food market is currently estimated to be a $1 billion industry, and the demand for halal options has increased along with Canada’s Muslim population, which grew 82 per cent over the last decade, and is expected to triple by 2031. Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permissable,” and for food to be deemed halal it must meet certain conditions.

Main stage events include a cake decorating competition, sushi demonstration, and live performances. An outdoor area will feature a halal Rib Fest and a Grill Master competition, which pits amateur barbecue home chefs against each other. In addition to the food features, there’s also a shopping area, and a 5,000 square foot playground for kids, since a third of last year’s attendees were under 16.

Event sponsors include returning sponsors Redpath Sugar, the main stage sponsor; and Dairy Farmers of Canada, who will be hosting its All You Need is Cheese cheese-tasting seminars. The presenting sponsor of the event is Mina Halal, one of the top halal chicken providers in Canada.

“Halal Food Fest is a celebration of Toronto’s diverse and delicious food trends, and we are thrilled to be sharing in this experience with the community,” said Shilo Balgobin, Marketing Manager, Mina Foods. “Mina™ is proud to support the growing needs of Muslim Canadians by ensuring that authentic Zabeeha by Hand Halal products are conveniently and readily available at our local grocery stores nationally.”

With Ramadan only two weeks away from the festival, the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) will also be hosting a Toonie for One Drop program during the festival. The campaign will raise funds to build and provide access to safe water around the world.

Event details:

Date: Saturday, May 30th 10am-10pm and Sunday, May 31st 10am-8pm
Location: The International Centre, Entrance 5, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga
Tickets: $5 each, children under 16 and seniors are free. Sample tickets available for purchase at event – $10 for 20 tickets.

*According to Agriculture Canada’s Specialty Food Market report in March 2012

For more information or to request media passes please contact:

Charlene D’Aoust, 88 Creative