By A. Jalil Hamid and Francis Dass, New Straits Times Online
PETALING JAYA: Nestlé, the no.1 food company in the world, has benefited from Malaysia’s strategic push to become a major halal hub.
“We are honoured and very privileged to have been, from the very beginning, a part of Malaysia’s development in halal.
“Today, the Malaysian halal certification is a quality seal. You can ship products from Malaysia with halal certificates around the world and Muslims around the world will be assured,” said Nestlé Malaysia managing director Alois Hofbauer.
In an exclusive interview with the New Straits Times Press group, the Austrian thanked the Malaysian government and authorities, and said they were farsighted in focusing on halal products.
“It has helped us and that is the reason why Nestlé Malaysia is the halal hub in the Nestlé world till today,” said Hofbauer.
Nestlé’s halal business in Malaysia is valued at RM5 billion, and this includes exports worth RM1 billion to more than 50 countries.
“There are bigger countries out there, but we are at the centre of (halal) expertise,” added Hofbauer.
He said Nestlé is not only focusing on its own products, but also working with authorities to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) become halal-certified.
Hofbauer said the halal sector ties in with a growing trend around the world — the preference for localisation. “People don’t want to have products from different parts of the world shipped to other parts of the world.
“They trust their own communities, and I think that is a huge opportunity and we are working here with Jakim (the Department of Islamic Development) and the authorities to help SMEs become our suppliers,” said Hofbauer.