The Halal food and beverages industry has grown to $1.1 trillion in 2013, a study by Reuters and Dinar Standard has found.
With an annual growth rate of 6.9 per cent, Halal products make up approximately 17 per cent of the global food and beverages industry.
While a key factor for this rising trend may be due to the population growth across most Muslim countries, Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained that an increase in awareness for Halal principles, and their global acceptance, is also responsible.
Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population was the biggest consumer at $197 billion, followed by Turkey who, at $100 billion, is the second-largest market for Halal goods.
Locally, the halal food consumption market in the UAE was valued at $20 billion in 2013, with the vast majority of this coming from unpackaged meat, which makes up more than 70 per cent of the market share.
In terms of origin, in 2013 the UAE imported almost half of its total 314 thousand metric tonnes (TMT) of meat from Brazil, with the remainder supplied from the United States, Australia, Pakistan and India.
However, the key behind the growing success has also been the ability of the Halal industry to penetrate Western markets
In the United Kingdom, for instance, decades of high immigration levels have resulted in communities solely dependent on meat prepared according to Halal principles – and not necessarily because a high proportion of the population believes in them. According to the Halal Monitoring Committee (UK), non-Muslims have learnt about the wholesome benefits of Halal preparation and, more importantly, many fast foods outlets – including McDonald’s and Subway- are including Halal meat in their menu in order to cater to their Muslim customers.
Nonetheless, its growing popularity has also seen a backlash in recent years as right-wing groups in the UK, but also in France and the U.S have called for a boycott of Halal products. Moreover, questions have been raised by veterinary organisations in the UK about the immoral practice of slaughtering animals without prior stunning which has opened a parliamentary debate about ensuring Halal products are appropriately branded.
According to the current growth rate, the Halal industry will be worth over 1.6 trillion by 2018. In order to achieve this, it will have to confront some of the challenges it may soon face across the Western world.