The Halal Revolution

There is a revolution going on — a food revolution that is, one that
is impacting F&B producers and suppliers around the globe.

Halal foodstuffs are par for the course in the Middle East and in many other countries with a sizeable Muslim population.

But today, with globalisation, more consumers travelling and many
more people choosing to live and work abroad, demand for halal products
is growing exponentially.

Indeed, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Halal Journal, the global halal food industry is currently worth around US $632 billion per year.

So is this the future — is halal going to continue to grow until it
is no longer a regional practice but a standard requirement across the

Taking the booming meat export market as an example, it certainly
seems that way — as Country Hill International’s Hamish McKerrow points

“We’ve been exporting meat from Australia for 20 years and have had a
really strong relationship with the Middle East for about five of those
years,” he says.

“There’s been a dramatic rise in halal meat imports from Australia
since 2003, when ‘Mad Cow Disease’ broke out in the US and lot of
countries banned US meat. Australia and New Zealand then decided to
fill the profile, became well-positioned in the halal market and have
continued to grow as halal meat providers ever since.

“Today we’re seeing an increased demand for halal across the globe,” he adds.

Similarly Patricia Fuentes, trade assistant to the Embassy of
Chile’s Trade Commission in Dubai, notes that the country’s exporters
have seen a “marked increase in demand for high quality meat and

Meanwhile Corry de Wit, managing director of the European office for
the State of Georgia’s Department of Agriculture, says that the state’s
exporters supply halal foodstuffs to countries around the world.

“We are seeing a tendency to more halal food products, in stores,
restaurants and fast food chains,” she agrees. “And interestingly,
we’re seeing this more and more in Europe.

“Today, consumers are more familiar with these products and the meaning of halal,” she continues.

“Plus the health aspect also plays a role for consumers — and halal
regulations, which are pretty strict, appear to pay much attention to
the standards of food products.”

Shangri-La Qaryat Al-Beri’s new executive chef Gary Robinson says
there’s no doubt the halal market means big business for companies that
can adapt.

“An awful lot of suppliers carry [halal products] now because the Muslim market is everywhere,” he asserts.

“If you think about it, offering non-halal items limits a supplier’s
market — and offering both non-halal and halal products means financing
separate storage facilities, transport and so on.

“So making your whole operation halal is actually the most
cost-efficient method of production. It would almost be easier if all
suppliers did things that way.”

BinHendi Hospitality executive chef Peter Tan also believes “meat suppliers will eventually become totally halal”.

“It makes sense to streamline their operations and ensure everything is killed according to halal customs,” he reasons.

It seems halal means big business — not just for the Middle East, but the whole world.

So suppliers, get your ops in order: the halal revolution is coming, whether you’re ready or not.