UAE: Demand on halal products to grow by 15%

By Zaher Bitar Senior Reporter, Gulf News
Dubai seeks to develop international standard for halal products


Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Board Member of Al Islami Foods.
Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Board Member of Al Islami Foods.

Demand for halal products is expected to grow by 15 per cent in the next two years and Dubai is looking to develop an international standard for the industry, Saleh Lootah, Managing Director of Islami Food, told Gulf News on the sidelines of Exporter Forum 2013.

“In line with Dubai Islamic Economic strategy, demand for halal products is expected to grow from 10 to 15 per cent in the next two years.”

While Islami Food is a leading halal industry in the UAE, Lootah expected an increase in the number of investors in the halal market. He called upon the authorities to set up a halal industrial free zone to encourage the flow of investments in this sector.

Islami Food is looking to expand by building another facility at a cost of Dh100 million, aiming to double their production capacity in ones and a half years, he said.

While there are two billion Muslims in the world, Lootah said that they vary in their halal knowledge and governments should work hard to target this segment by enhancing awareness about halal.

Looking for a unified standard for halal products, he added that according to Dubai Islamic economy strategy, the emirate is looking to find out an international standard to halal products to certified Islamic products and trace its ingredients.

It was announced earlier that Dubai will set up an international centre for halal products and is targeting 10 per cent of the global market share in the next three years.

The centre will include an international laboratory and accreditation centre and will be active by the first quarter of 2014.

Dubai Exports is developing an Islamic index that includes a database about all UAE halal companies across all sectors — cosmetics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, clothes, hotels and others.

This will contribute in facilitating the growth of the halal industry as well as provide information that can help in finding a unified standard for this business segment.

The halal market can perform to its full potential for business when standard is harmonised, said Torek Farhad, Senior Adviser of Business Environment at the International Trade Centre (ITC) Geneva.

“Dubai’s involvement in the halal sector is good news and we can be sure new benchmarks of excellence will be set in this area of activity as well, right here in this city,” Farhad said.

Al Islami Foods will be exhibiting in the Sector Pavilion at the Global Islamic Economy Summit, 25-26 November 2013, Madinat Jumeirah Conference Hall, Dubai, UAE. Mr Saleh Lootah will also be on a panel session at the Summit.