Nourish Food Marketing, Canada’s only full-service marketing agency working exclusively with food, beverage, and agricultural clients, has just completed its fifth annual halal shopper study. The study, which surveyed over 1,000 principal grocery shoppers, has significant implications for food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants. The Halal market continues to be an underserved yet fast-growing population. Recent Statistics Canada data estimates Canada’s Muslim population to be 1.4 million and projects the Muslim population will exceed the size of the Chinese ethnic market by 2021. (As projected by Stats Canada via alternative religious mobility.)
But, despite being a diverse, thriving, and growing community, the study found that the majority of halal consumers continue to feel underserved: 57 per cent of respondents do not believe grocery food chains are doing a good job meeting their needs; 62 per cent feel the same way about major food companies. These ratings have remained at about the same level for the past 5 years.
“While we know that both retailers and food companies are doing a better job meeting the halal shoppers’ needs, we are also seeing the halal consumers’ expectations rise,” says Salima Jivraj, head of Nourish Multicultural and founder of Halal Foodie and the Halal Food Festival.
The study also provides insight to guide marketing strategies, highlight gaps in the marketplace, assess the strength of halal certification bodies and halal brands, and shows how best to connect with the halal market segment.
Another perhaps surprising finding was that the majority of halal shoppers seldom or never use ethnic media. “Ethnic media may not be as relevant a spend as it was in a pre-digital age,” says Jivraj.
“All companies should be rethinking their overall multicultural spend, as most are underspending against the halal consumer. As our population continues to become more diverse, companies should always be applying a multicultural lens to their programs,” says Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing. “It’s just smart business.”
Due to Canada’s immigration policy, this is a very well educated consumer group with strong earning and spending potential. “Where other market categories see a growth of 1-2 per cent, the Halal market is growing between 10-15 per cent annually,” adds McArthur. “Companies can no longer afford to miss this consumer.”