As enlisted in the FAO guidelines, Halal can be used for food items that are considered lawful. Islam for Muslims is not only a religion but it is a way of living their lives containing protocols, rules and manners that govern every facet of their lives. As food is essential for maintaining health and well-being of an individual, food laws hold a specific importance. Under Islam, Muslims are expected to eat for their survival, for maintaining health and not to live for eating. Eating is equivalent to worshipping God, just like praying, keeping fasts, alms-giving, and doing other religious activities.
There Are Certain Criteria for Utilization of the Term “Halal”
Lawful Food- Food of Animal Origin: Under the Islamic Law, all the food sources are considered to be lawful, except pigs and boars, dogs, snakes, and monkeys, carnivorous animals with claws and fangs that include tigers, lions, bears, and other animals of similar type, birds of prey, pests such as rats, centipedes, scorpions and similar animals, animals that are forbidden to be killed in Islam that include ants, bees, and woodpecker birds, animals considered as repulsive like lice, flies, maggots, and similar organisms, mules, domestic donkeys, poisonous and dangerous aquatic animals, amphibians like frog, crocodiles, and others, any other animals that are not slaughtered as per the Islamic law, and blood.
Food of Plant Origin: This contain prohibited consumption of plants that are toxic or intoxicating, except for toxin and hazards that are capable of being removed at the time of processing. Drinks like alcohol and all the intoxicating and hazardous drinks are prohibited.
There are rules for slaughtering as well, it is required that all the lawful land animals are to be slaughtered in accordance with the rules laid down in the Codex Recommended Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Meat. The slaughtering should cut-off the trachea, esophagus, and the main arteries and veins of the neck.
There are certain labelling requirements as well, when a food is declared as halal, it is necessary to mention it on the label. As per the Codex General Guidelines on Claims, claims on halal food should not be utilized in ways that creates doubt regarding the safety of similar food items or claiming that halal foods are superior in nutrition or much healthier than other foods.
The market for halal foods is projected to grow at a significant pace with the rapidly surging Muslim population in the world. As per the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2017 data, a percent increase of Islam population out of the total population in Australia was observed. This increased from 1.7% in 2006 to 2.6% in 2016.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017, % Increase of Muslim Population out of the Total Population in Australia
Furthermore, it was observed that out of the non-Christian religions in Australia, Islam is the most prominent religion, followed by Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Judaism (source: ABS, 2018)
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Number of Non-Christian Individuals
However, there have been concerns regarding risk of cross contamination of halal foods, this factor will contribute to restraining the global halal food market. It has been observed that halal food supply chain was exposed to risks that would cause an impact on the halal food supply chain integrity. One of these issues included the risk of cross-contamination between the halal and non-halal food items, resulting in converting a halal food product to a haram food product. Incidents where food products marketed as halal failed to fulfill the halal requirements have given rise to the demand for genuine halal food products. The growing issues regarding handling of halal food products passing through the entire food-supply chain from sourcing of the raw materials to manufacturing, transportation, and storage will definitely put an impact on the halal status of the product. Hence, it is being realized at a large scale that handling of halal food products does play an important role in maintaining the purity of a food product to be called as a genuine halal food item. Specifically, when these products come in contact with the non-halal products. Additionally, many cases in the world were previously reported that included the adulteration of haram ingredients in food production processes. For instance, The Muslim Council of Britain warned that around 90% of the total meat and poultry products sold in the UK may be illegally sold. Also, slaughtering as per Islam law was not followed. Hence, such crimes are contributing to the violation of people’s religious beliefs and also contribute to trust abuse, further putting an impact on hampering market growth.
It has been noticed that there has been a rising popularity of halal food from non-Muslim consumers, this is further contributing to surging the global halal food market growth. Muslim consumers round the world prefer the halal-certified food products. There has been increasing acceptance of halal food from non-Muslims as well, this is attributed to the fact that these people are associating halal with ethical consumerism. Hence it has provided strong opportunities for companies to invest in this sector and make halal food available to maximum population comprising Muslims and non-Muslims both. Expansion of manufacturing facilities by the multinational companies are further offering significant market growth prospects. Haribo, a gummy manufacturer, in 2018, inaugurated a halal candy store in the United Kingdom.
The increasing halal consumption worldwide have motivated the MNCs to enter the industry, further contributing to surging the market growth. In the UK, there is a presence of more non-Muslim halal meat consumers than the Muslim meat consumers. In Netherlands, an increasing preference for halal food among non-Muslim Dutch consumers is also surging the market demand. Furthermore, strategic partnerships among organizations is further augmenting the market growth. For example, in 2018, an announcement regarding the Mitsubishi Corporation securing a minority stake in the United Arab Emirates-based halal food manufacture was made by Al Islami Foods. The collaborative partnership aims to develop new products that will help in increasing the frozen food market share in the GCC and other global markets. The collaboration is further poised to assist Al Islami Foods for increasing their footprint in the HORECA industry and food and beverage service segment across the UAE. The investment further aims to capitalize on Mitsubishi’s well-established distribution in important global markets, specifically, in the Asian region.
Furthermore, with the growing disposable income of the Muslims and non-Muslims, the market is predicted to grow at a fast pace. The availability of halal food products in modern retail stores like the supermarket is further adding to increasing sales of halal goods. Some of the largest halal markets are located in Southeast Asia and West Asia. The Asia Pacific and the Middle East are contributing to holding a significant market share owing to the dominance of the Muslim population in these regions.