Halal meat will become increasingly important for the sheep industry post-Brexit, according to Abdalhamid Evans, strategist at halal consultancy Imarat Consultants.
Speaking at the AHDB Beef and Lamb Halal Seminar in Stratford-upon-Avon, Mr Evans said the UK needed to compete in Islamic markets after leaving the EU.
“If we want to be open for business with the rest of the world, a lot of the rest of the world is Muslim,” he said.
“Muslims are the only major religious group projected to grow faster than the world’s population as a whole. The Islamic market is bigger than China.”
“Food is just one element. There are 1.6 billion muslims,” he said.
He encouraged the sector to think more broadly about opportunities from other sectors for the food industry.
“If you look at travel, all travellers need to eat.”
- 3 per cent of UK slaughter is halal
- 75 per cent of this is stunned
- Global muslim population projected to increase by 73 per cent by 2050, compared to 35 per cent growth in the overall global population
Source: Pew Research Center
He asked whether the sector had a plan to build a halal industry which makes a positive contribution to the UK economy which would help people to see the value of the market.
Demand for lamb across Muslim communities was also important as lamb consumption has declined across the rest of the population.
Halal meat has also helped to support cull ewe prices by providing a new market for mutton products, delegates heard.
Standards for halal were also discussed and AHDB proposed their own standards so products can be branded with a ‘halal assured’ mark.
Mr Evans said without an accreditation it was potentially a ‘headache for exporters’ who wanted to enter Islamic markets.
He pointed to Australia where the Australian Government Authorised Halal Programme works with industry bodies to provide guidelines for halal slaughter. Export registered meat producers then receive a halal certificate.
“They have made a huge investment in the halal market,” he said.
“It is worth in excess of £2 billion a year to the Australian beef and lamb industry to the GCC alone.”
Halal consumers looking for smaller cuts and convenience
Muslim consumers are looking for the same things from their meat as the rest of the market, according to AHDB independent retailer sector manager Micheal Richardson.
Mr Richardson who heads up the levy board’s marketing activity for the halal sector said they were having success with campaigns such as mini roasts as Muslim consumers look for convenience.
“In the non-halal sector, we have given this information to large numbers of butchers,” he said.
“Halal butchers were interested for the same reason.”
AHDB has used Healthy Kitchen, a cooking show on British Muslim TV, to promote beef and lamb recipes and is working alongside meat suppliers including Tariq Halal, Mullaco and Janan.
“We are looking to engage and inspire, particularly younger consumers,” he said.
“There is a lot more we can do with social media.
“We did do a lot through post which is probably not the best idea.”