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Halal food market research: 3 insights for breaking into a $1 trillion food industry

This post was originally published in Quirk’s Marketing Research Media on 17 March, 2015

The global halal food market has gone from a specialist market to one valued at US$1.1 trillion in 2013, according to a study by Thomson Reuters.

And thanks to the surge in consumers who require halal-prepared and certified food products, it shows no signs of slowing down. The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life has forecast the world’s Muslim population to grow 35% from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion in 2030.

Arguably, markets with growing Muslim populations and fragmented/non-existent sources of halal food represent the most opportunity. For instance, the halal food market in the US was worth US$170 billion for a market of 8 million in 2010, according to Ogilvy Noor.

For any business looking into markets like the US where demand for halal food far exceed supply, here are three insights that may be useful in constructing a go-to-market strategy. Malaysia is one of the world’s largest producers of halal food, exporting more than $10 billion worth worldwide in 2013.

 

Halal RTE (ready-to-eat) options will increase in popularity due to Muslims’ younger demographic

Because of the ‘youth bulge’ — in Muslim-dominant nations, 60% of the population is under 30 — the Muslim market is more likely to be younger. They are also as connected, savvy and modern as their non-Muslim counterparts. Packaged food is definitely part of their repertoire.

Halal is often construed with permissible meat products, but it goes well beyond that.

Frozen meals, condiments, snacks, instant ramen, confectionery — these are just some of the ready-to-eat products that, if produced in alignment with halal principles, would resonate well with a younger Muslim consumer.

 

Supply chain doesn’t just matter; it is critical

To be truly halal, food not only has to be produced or prepared in accordance with halal principles but also handled, transported and stored according to Muslim halal precepts.

The halalan toyyiban food supply chain (HTFSC) process ensures that halal food is not contaminated with pork or other disallowed products. In the case of poultry, for example, chickens must have enough space to roam and be far enough from pig farms so as not to risk contamination. Post-slaughter, halal chicken requires dedicated storage and handling as recommended by Syariah Islamic law.

Given the demand for halal food, we believe that there is unrivaled opportunity for logistics and supply chain firms to be HTFSC-compliant. It will however require a deep understanding of halal principles and a willingness to invest in and commit to halal-approved systems and processes.

 

Proponents of organic food are an unexpected market for halal food

Not surprisingly, halal food has earned new custom from an unlikely source: Non-Muslims who are concerned about the provenance of what they eat. In particular, organic food proponents have discovered that halal food meets their requirements for conscientious eating.

Halal doctrine emphasizes quality of life for animals, even those bred for the table, and merciful killing. Battery farms, growth hormones and feed made from processed animal byproducts are certainly not halal. It’s no wonder then that a new generation of diners is seeking out halal foods, even though they’re not Muslim.

How big is the global organic food market? According to Transparency Market Research, it will nearly double from US$57.5 billion in 2010 to US$104.7 billion this year. This growth is more marked in countries with higher purchasing power, such as Japan.

The concept of halal may be centuries old, but its benefits are very much of our time. Today’s focus on food safety, ethical sourcing and conscientious eating are perfectly aligned with halal food. There is no better time than now to be part of this movement.

Contact us today to find out more hard-to-find insights about halal food, the food and beverage industry in Malaysia/Asia Pacific, and other retail facts and figures to help your business.

Photo by Sharukh Hasan via Flickr

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