In recent years there has been an increase in the consumption of Halal food and some studies speak of the possibility of this type of food reaching the general public in the same way as other types of food such as vegan or gluten-free.
We will explain some market clues and predictions, but let’s start at the beginning.
What does Halal mean?
According to the Halal Institute (the body in charge of certifying goods and services in Spain and Latin America that are suitable for consumption by Muslims) halal comprises everything that is permitted, and therefore beneficial and healthy for human beings, leading to an improvement in the quality of life and a reduction in health risks. While it is applicable to various aspects of life, as far as food is concerned, it means that it encompasses everything that is not forbidden (Haram) by the laws of the Qur’an:
- The flesh of the animal found dead
- Pork and wild boar meat and its by-products
- Animals slaughtered without the invocation of God’s name
- Carnivorous and scavenging animals, as well as clawed birds
- Alcohol, alcoholic beverages, noxious or poisonous substances and toxic plants or drinks
- Ingredients from animals or haram products, such as pork gelatine. Additives, preservatives, colourings, flavourings, etc., produced from haram ingredients.
Why Halal food should not be overlooked
- Demographics: The Islamic population is growing and is expected to increase from the current 4.9% to 7.4% by 2050. In addition, there are more and more women in the labour market, which means more people with more income and less time demanding convenience products.
- A greater acceptance of exotic foods: with the expansion of the Muslim community has come a greater awareness of their different cuisines. Indian, Middle Eastern or African restaurants (many Halal-based) are becoming more common and this goes hand in hand with a greater demand for Halal products.
- Reliance on Halal products: Halal food is becoming popular among the non-Muslim population, not least because of the strict conditions under which it is produced. The ethical and hygienic measures and the high level of traceability required for certification increase the sense of trust.
Europe has the capacity to carve out a niche in the Halal market, indeed, according to Geen, there may be times when Halal-compliant production will be more profitable, as it will also be marketed to the less restrictive consumers. Only time will tell if companies are inclined to go down this route.