Malaysia: Halfest 2011 Eyes 50,000 Visitors, RM28 Mln Sales

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) — The upcoming Halal Fiesta 2011 (Halfest 2011), a platform for consumers in the country to know local halal products better, expects 50,000 visitors and RM28 million in sales over its five-day duration from Oct 12 to 16.

Halfest chief executive officer Mohd Shukri Abdullah said at a press conference here today that the exhibition is open to the general public regardless of age, unlike MIHAS (International Halal Showcase) which focuses on exporting companies and visitors aged 18 and above.

He said while MIHAS has expanded and focuses on companies that are capable of exporting their products, Halfest is a new platform for companies that have yet to come up with exportable products.

MIHAS also imposes strict conditions for participation, and last year barred 130 local companies without export capability, he added.

Some RM4.85 million has been spent on this year’s Halfest, he said, adding about 83 per cent of participating companies are Bumiputera firms and over 500 companies have booked exhibition booths.

Halfest is hosted by the Halal Development Corporation, and is aimed at promoting halal products among Malaysians besides showcasing the wide variety of halal products and services available.

Mohd Shukri said only Malaysian entrepreneurs or foreign companies with a sales office in Malaysia are allowed to exhibit their products and services at Halfest.

This year’s event features master chef Noordin Ahmad, who wants to help food small-and-medium enterprises improve their products, taste and packaging.

Noordin, owner of Intan Emas Mutiara Enterprise, said he is prepared to help Bumiputera entrepreneurs succeed in the food processing business with his wide international experience.

He stressed the importance of hygiene in food preparation and the need to

modernise Malay food, citing the use of paste and finger food to test consumers’ taste.

Also at Halfest is Nutrifres Food & Beverages Industries, which has penetrated into 12 countries and expects to break into the U.S. and China markets next year.

Its managing director Kevin Lim said Halfest not only helps the company promote its products but also build brand loyalty among consumers.

The main market for the company’s 50 products is Indonesia, he said, adding its success in foreign markets is due to its ability to meet consumer needs and conditions imposed by the authorities in the respective country.