THE Brunei Halal Brand is enjoying good reception from Singaporean shoppers, especially the Muslim population, who acknowledge the halal certification from Brunei, said a representative from NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Ltd.
Winston Ng, assistant manager of Corporate Communications in an e-mail to The Brunei Times said that the more popular items include the brand’s seashell chocolates, biscuits, sparkling juice and instant noodles.
“However, it’s too early to comment on any sales figures as we have only launched the range of products some three months ago,” said Ng.
NTUC FairPrice, which is run by Singapore’s National Trade Union Congress, started offering the Brunei halal products in the middle of October 2010, the first supermarket chain to do so outside the Sultanate.
Around 15 per cent of Singapore’s five million people are Muslims.
Brunei’s halal brand, which is owned by state company Wafirah Holdings, is handled by Ghanim International Food Corporation, a joint venture company formed in July 2009 by the Brunei government and Hong Kong-based Kerry FSDA.
Kerry Logistics, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based firm, distributes the products. It also handles the products’ international freight forwarding and integrated logistics management to ensure compliance with strict halal standards.
Ghanim, on its part, is working with global manufacturers to make products that suit local demand that will need approval by Brunei’s halal certification body.
In an earlier statement, Antony Greenstein, Kerry FSDA’s director of Global Business, said that the company was confident it would see further opportunities in Asia and Europe “as we roll out the Brunei Halal range of products”. Following the Singapore launch, Brunei Halal Brand’s Interim Chief Executive Officer said that the brand’s marketing and trading agency is looking at two more countries within the region as potential markets.
Noel Shield added: “We are still negotiating with other companies, but to get in a country is not an easy task.”
“You can’t just turn on the tap as there are a lot of negotiations and hard work involved,” he previously said, adding that most importantly, they “needed the right products.”
The brand’s presence in Singapore marks a significant step for the Sultanate, as efforts to leverage on Brunei’s stringent halal certification becomes a reality.
This, Shield said, reinforces what Ghanim has believed all along that the brand has a lot to offer, as product sales across the board have been good.
Further, the Singaporean foray of the brand also shows that efforts to leverage on Brunei’s stringent halal certification is now coming to fruition.
“The public’s response is way beyond what we expected,” Shield said.
“The communities are very much behind the brand and product sales across the range have exceeded (our) expectations.”
More than 20 products including cup noodles, noodle nuggets, chocolate, potato chips, prawn crackers, cookies, cheese puffs and sparkling juices, were made available at NTUC’s supermarket and stores during the launch.
The Brunei Times