Changing the mindset of the Dutch
about the virtues of halal food, though tough, is still a worthwhile
pursuit as the Netherlands is not only a lucrative market, but a
potential gateway for such products from Malaysia to Europe.
The Hague city Vice Mayor, Henk Kool, said it was possible to
change the perception of the Dutch as “they are open-minded and can be
very enthusiastic about the goodness of halal foods.”
Currently, there is a perception among the Dutch that halal food
is only for Muslims. “You have to change that perception,” he said.
“There is a big market here, not only since the number of Muslims
in the Netherlands is growing, but because halal food is for everyone
as it is healthy and hygienic,” he told Bernama after launching the
World Halal Forum (WHF) Industry Dialogue here Thursday.
With 1.8 to two million Muslims registered in the Netherlands,
their acceptance of halal food could pave the way in tackling the
potentially vast 20-30 million Muslim market in Europe.
The Netherlands has a population of 16 million.
The World Halal Forum Industry Dialogue, organised by KasehDia Sdn
Bhd and hosted by the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), has
been regularly held for several years now.
About 100 participants consisting industry players, government agencies as well academicians are attending the dialogue.
They were given an insight about the prospects of developing a
halal industry in the Netherlands which would serve as a springboard to
European countries. It is also aimed at bringing greater awareness
about halal foods and products and the current issues surrounding the
Last year, KasehDia and HDC organised seven such dialogues all over the world including China and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Despite being a potential gateway for Malaysia to European
countries, Kool said the Netherlands itself presents a very promising
market for the halal industry.
“Malaysia can do a lot in promoting halal foods in the Netherlands
and expand the market and develop a new gateway for Malaysia to the
Netherlands and thereafter from the Netherlands into Europe,” he said.
There are about 20 to 30 million Muslims in Europe and it is estimated that the population would grow by 25 percent in 2010.
Kool said the country has very good road connections linking it to
all European countries and Malaysia could leverage on this advantage to
grow its halal industry starting from the Netherlands.
“When you are developing the halal industry, it is a good thing to
start in the Netherlands as with the infrastructure, it would be very
profitable because we are the gateway to the whole of Europe,” he said.
The vice mayor said for this purpose, the Netherland government
always keeps in touch with the Malaysian government through its embassy
here to keep abreast of the latest developments in the halal industry.