USA: Food Service offering Halal options at Catersource trade show


The Catersource Conference & Tradeshow and its  1,000+ booth Tradeshow floor is the most extensive catering educational conference in the USA. From February 27 to March 3, 2011, Minnesota based Food Service Express (FSE), will offer one of the first ever initiatives to introduce attendees to halal catering. An expert on halal for food service, Food Service Express has been committed to demystifying halal and connecting the dots between suppliers and consumers.

At the Conference FSE will offer tastings, food demonstrations, and handouts explaining what halal is and what it isn’t. That will be accompanied by a half-hour presentation on the various special halal products that caterers can access.

Referencing to Bradley University, IL Buffalo University, NY and Ohio State University, OH, all of whom added halal options in 2011, Don Tymchuck pointed out that halal was a $20 billion national niche halal catering market that was quickly expanding. “It is a largely untapped market, and in an economy like this, even a 10% increase in sales is significant. Halal can do that for caterers.”

FSE was at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in 2010 and presented a panel entitled: Nine Million Muslim Consumers Seeking Halal. This, too, was the first time ever that halal was on the itinerary at an event of such significance in the food and restaurant industry. Also in 2010, FSE presented at The National Association of College & University Food Services ( NACUFS) and explored the potential of bringing halal to Campus Dining Halls. Don Tymchuck met with several Food Service Directors and FSE later surveyed them. Of the colleges FSE surveyed, half had 100 or more Muslim students but only six percent offered halal meal plans. Those who did offer halal meal plans, largely offered hamburgers and hot dogs, and were open to healthier options if there was sufficient demand.

FSE has also been guiding various Muslim Students Associations across the country that are interested in making halal commonplace on campus. Its most recent presentation was at the Ohio State University which launched its halal initiatives on Janruary 28th 2011, coincidentally on the same weekend as the FSE presentation.