UK: Halal rising: Muslim food marks its UK embrace with a stadium celebration


– The Guardian

“I don’t think there’s anything political or any other motivations to serving halal food. Simply put, why wouldn’t you want everyone eating your food?” said Tristan Clough, the co-founder of the fried chicken restaurant Coqfighter. He was one of the several dozen food vendors at the World Halal food festival being held at the London Stadium in Stratford on Saturday.

The event is being held 10 years on from the first halal-centric food festival that was launched in the capital. In the years since, the availability and acceptance of halal food has increased hugely. Finding halal meat in a supermarket is almost a given and the types of cuisines that are available to halal consumers continues to broaden. There are also signs that non-Muslims are seeking out halal food, especially meat, while some of the fastest growing food chains in the UK are Muslim-owned.

Nationally, the number of Muslims in the UK has increased by more than 1 million people in the past 10 years. Census data from 2021 shows that 6.5% of the UK population is Muslim, almost 3.9 million people, up from 4.8% and 2.7 million people in 2011. At the same time, Muslim-owned food chains have expanded rapidly. German Doner Kebab, which is owned by Athif and Asim Sarwar, brothers of the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, has grown from 71 restaurants at the end of 2020 to 146 by the end of 2022, according to accounts from the chain’s parent company, Hero Brands, on Companies House.

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