The guests of honour attending the event were the Honourable Ron Stevens, Deputy Premier and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, Province of Alberta and Her Excellency Ambassador Sara Hradecky, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE.
Ron Stevens attended the launch of during a short visit to the UAE said:
“The Middle East, and the Gulf region in particular, is of growing importance for Canadian industry. We, in the province of Alberta, are working hard to continue to strengthen our existing trade relationships with the UAE and build new relationships in areas where opportunities exist, such as the growing Halal foodstuffs market. The range of products that Prairie Halal Foods will be bringing to this region is indicative of the high quality and rigorous standards that Canadian food manufacturers set themselves.”
Prairie Halal Foods is a private, Canadian owned food company focused on the development and marketing of high value Halal meat and other related value added food products. It is a joint venture between several well-established food producing companies based in the Canadian province of Alberta, and shareholders include Prairie Heritage Beef Producers, a group of eco-committed Natural Angus beef ranchers; Canadian Rangeland Beef and Bison, a beef and bison production and marketing company; Aliya’s Foods Ltd, a Halal certified value-added meat processor, and The Meat Grinder, a Halal meat marketing and distribution company.
Wahid Kandil, General Manger of Prairie Halal Foods commented at the launch, “At Prairie Halal Foods we will primarily be marketing the high quality Halal meats produced by our principal owners throughout the Middle East, meats such as Natural Angus Beef and Poultry as well as products new to the region such as Bison and Elk. Our customers will appreciate that our Angus Beef is sustainably produced from a partnership of eco committed Canadian ranch families. All our Canadian Rangeland Bison products are hormone and antibiotic free and consumers will be pleased to know that Buffalo is a red meat that is lower in calories, cholesterol and contains almost a quarter of the level of fats found in other red meats”
According to the Financial Times, the global Halal market is currently estimated at $580bn and is expected to exceed $1trillion by 2010 and, according to industry reports, within the Middle East, the Halal industry is estimated to be worth more than $20bn.
The UAE is a major importer of food products, of which 80% is Halal and Brazil and Australia have already sought to capitalise on this rapidly growing market. In 2007, the Emirates accounted for 7.77% of the world’s lamb and beef imports and 15.38% of all poultry imports, second only to Saudi Arabia.