EU: Halal food market grows, 5 bln-euro potential in Italy

Halal (conforming to Islamic rules) food is seeing double-digit growth the world over and even in Italy – due to rising interest by companies in the sector – it could soon become normal to find ”Islamically correct” labelled products on supermarket shelves.

”The development potential of this market,” said Hamid Roberto Distefano, the managing director of Halal Italia, an agency authorising Islamic certification of firms and products, ”is around 4 or 5 billion euros.”

Since the label was brought in a year ago on the initiative of (Islamic Religious Community), sponsored by the Foreign, Economic Development, Health and Agricultural Policies ministries, 30 small and large enterprises have been certified and the same number are undergoing the procedure to do so.

”It is a move,” Distefano said at a meeting organised by Promos today at the Milan Chamber of Commerce,” that many are making especially in relation to exports, even though enterprises are discovering a domestic market made up of 1.5 million Muslim citizens, Today, if they want to eat strictly halal food they stock up for the most part in small shops which often become ghettos.

In this sense certification can aid integration by fostering the sharing of space and a shared consumption culture.” The phenomenon does not only concern tortellini and sausages.

To the contrary: ”We have begun to certify also cosmetics and pharmaceutical enterprises,” said the managing director, ”a sector which is growing internationally by 30%, double that of halal food.”