Industry Players Competing For Slice Of Europe’s Halal Market

Industry Players Competing For Slice Of Europe’s Halal Market

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 (Bernama) — Industry players are now
competing to get a significant share of the halal industry market in
Europe which has a population of 51.2 million Muslims.

“Everyone now wants a slice of the halal market,” said Dr Cedomir
Nestorovic, a professor at the ESSEC Business School Paris in France.

According to him, halal is now regarded as a “big thing” in Europe and is no longer a taboo subject in the mainstream media.

Presenting a paper at the recent World Halal Forum (WHF) Europe
2009, Nestorovic said the halal industry was growing bigger with
intense competition among the players to expand their market share.

“Communication on halal food is no more exotic or ethnic as the
halal food market in Europe, particularly in France, is increasingly
strong. I foresee that communication will be the decisive
differentiation point, especially for halal certification and promotion
campaigns,” he said.

Held at the World Forum Convention Centre in The Hague,
Netherlands, on Nov 17 and 18, WHF Europe 2009 was organised KasehDia
Sdn Bhd, which has been promoting the World Halal Forum since 2006.

Held for the first time outside Malaysia, the event was aimed at tapping the enormous potential of the halal market in Europe.

During the two-day session, participants and speakers agreed that
awareness on halal products and certification has been increasing in
Europe during the past years.

Advertising campaigns on halal products, certification and labels
are also on the rise in Europe, particularly in France which has an
estimated Muslim population of five million.

World Fair Trade Organisation’s president Paul Meyers said in his
paper that both the halal and fair trade shared the same values.

The world’s halal market is currently estimated at US$2.1 trillion
(RM8.4 trillion) annually, with growth potential evident as halal
products and services are not limited to Muslim consumers but also
poised to gain increasing acceptance among non-Muslims.

This is because consumers normally perceive halal products as
having undergone stringent inspection and quality standard controls.

The halal food market in Europe, which has the third largest
concentration of Muslims after Asia and Africa, is expected to reach
US$6.7 billion this year.

The higher purchasing power of European Muslims and the growing
number of educated Muslims in the labour market have contributed
towards the strong growth of halal food consumption while the trade
potential is rapidly increasing.

Furthermore, the world has been facing various food crisis of
variable nature such as mad cow disease and causes were traced to
various possibilities of negligence that resulted in contaminated
animal feel and chemical residue.

In view of this, Dr Jochen P. Zoller, president of Germany’s
Intertek Food Services, believes that the emergence of halal market has
seen the evolution in understanding of halal values.

“Halal is not just about non-alcoholic or non-porcine food but
actual values as prescribed in the divine revelation,” he said in his
paper on “Growth of Halal Products in the Retail Market”.

According to Zollar, halal food characteristics include
religiously clean, hygienically handled, nutritious, good quality and

In this context, he said halal values incorporate three main
important values which are animal welfare, fairness including in trade
practices, and a good balance.

“The trend of making halal products has been picked up by large corporations like Nestle, GSK and Carrefour,” Zollar said.

“There’s a huge potential in consumer food products and now it has
expanded to personal care, healthcare and pharmaceutical products.
Halal is an economy by itself,” he said.

The forum saw the participation of key industry players from 33
countries and strong representation from Europe, Southeast Asia,
Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Australia.

Among the issues was Islamic halal slaughter methods which
continued to be heavily debated by certain groups, especially animal
rights activists, and WHF Europe provided a platform for them to voice
out their views.

World Halal Forum’s founder and managing director Jumaatun Azmi,
who is also managing director of KasehDia, said the forum was fruitful
and motivating.

“It gave participants the opportunity to discuss all issues
pertaining to the halal industry, including the halal slaughter
controversy which has become a major argument in Europe,” she said.