Philippines: Pinoys eye $2.3-trillion halal market

MIHAS-logo-125KUALA LUMPUR—Filipino businessmen in the food and apparel industries are eyeing the $2.3-trillion halal market to cater to high-spending Muslim families and health-conscious consumers.

Two of the country’s largest retail companies—Robinsons Supermarket and Rustan’s Super Center—and retailers from the Greenhills Shopping Center in Metro Manila’s San Juan City are among some 500 foreign companies gathered here for the 10th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) that seeks to expand product coverage to the halal market.

Halal-certified products vary from food and beverage, toiletries and cosmetics, drugs and food supplements to Islamic finance and logistics.

Dr. Wong Lai Sum, chief executive officer of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp.  (Matrade), said her country aims to create a platform of trading for businessmen in Asia Pacific and the world to engage in the halal industry, which has a market value of $2.3 trillion. She added that multinational firms as well as small and medium enterprises can equally explore the 1.8 billion Muslim consumers worldwide “by just going the extra mile of halal accreditation process.”

Dr.  Wong said even in the Philippines, which is predominantly Catholic, halal products have a huge market because a lot of consumers believe that halal-certified products have gone through the natural process.

Lyn L. De Jesus, assistant vice president for Merchandising Fresh, said the company has been expanding its range of halal-certified products in its 73 stores nationwide because the process of halal certification   is aligned to their wellness advocacy of selling “safe, clean and healthy” food products.

She added that Robinsons Supermarket continues to expand operations in Mindanao to market its halal-certified products.  The company has a total of seven branches in Mindanao that  include those in General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Pagadian, Ozamis and Davao City. It will open a new branch in Zamboanga City.

De Jesus said Muslim consumers in the Philippines “remain untapped” and halal-certified products are expected to lure more consumers including non-Muslims who are health conscious.

Other Filipino companies that participated in the Mihas forum included Albaraka Trading (frozen seafood, ladies apparel); Am-Wah Marketing (seafood, ladies apparel, jewelry); Anwar Maader  (juices, health drinks/tours and travels); Ascona International Inc. (seafood, poultry, frozen meat); Dayarex Trading Marketing (processed meat, poultry); First Quarter Trading (coffee, meat, ready-to-eat meals); Henta Marketing Corp. (decorative packaging and containers, toiletries); Infiniti Intertrade (biscuits, chocolates and candies); MVM International (cocoa products, confectionery); and Tojo Enterprise (sauces and paste, chocolates and candies).