Growing number of Australian manufacturers embracing Halal and Kosher certification

Growing number of Australian manufacturers embracing Halal and Kosher certification

  • September 19, 2008
  • Daniel Palmer

Old Colonial Cookie Company has announced that Butterfingers Shortbread
and its gourmet variety, Lander’s Australian Bites, have both now
received Halal and Kosher certification, as a range of Australian food
manufacturers and retailers begin to update their products to ensure
they can appeal to a wider market.

The Old Colonial Cookie Company is now also producing gluten free
shortbread in response to growing demand for wheat-free products, with
the Butterfingers Pure Butter Gluten Free Shortbread product offering.

Halal and Kosher foods require strict preparation methods in line
with religious customs, but manufacturers in Australia have begun to
realise that – despite the cost of getting Halal and Kosher
certification – market opportunities can quickly outweigh such costs.

With an estimated global Muslim population of around 1.8 billion,
the market for Halal food is rumoured to be around US$500 billion
(although it could be up to $2 trillion). In Australia, where the
Muslim population is 340,390 (according to ABS Census figures in 2006),
the market is currently at around $1 billion. Exporters have also had
some luck in the marketplace with Australian exports to Muslim
countries at $3.7 billion in the five years from 2001-02, according to
Halal Australia. In fact, it is suggested that just over ten per cent
of global trade in agri-food products is Halal certified. The general
focus has been on meat and dairy products, but Halal certification
extends to a wide range of food products.

In recent years, Australian companies have been co-operating with
the country of Brunei (and Austrade) to improve their ability to tap
into the Halal market, with Australia’s reputation for high quality
food a key factor behind success.

Australia was the first non-Muslim country to place Halal
certification under legislation and, according to the Australian Halal
Food Directory, there are currently four recognized certifying bodies
in Australia for Halal food.

The Kosher food market, while smaller than the Halal market, is also
being considered for its potential as a niche industry for food
producers. The 2006 Census discovered the Australian Jewish population
was 88,826.

Like Halal, Kosher food rules apply to the food production, storage,
transportation, distribution, preparation and final consumption. Among
the most commercially viable markets for Kosher food exports are the
United States of America, Israel, Canada, England and New Zealand.

There are currently over 10 million Kosher-only consumers worldwide,
although studies suggest that the products appeal to more than just the
Jewish population. Muslims and diet-conscious consumers have been among
others to seek out Kosher food.

Kosher Australia is considered the foremost Kosher Certification Body in Australia.