The literal meaning of the Arabic word ‘Halal’ is permissible. It is used in reference to food and drinks that are permissible for Muslims under Islamic Law, as defined in the Koran. It lays down instructions specifying what food can be consumed as well as the method of preparation, addressing mostly meat items and animal tissue. For example, the Islamic form of slaughtering animals involves killing by a cut to the windpipe, carotid artery and jugular vein.
Muslim consumers now contribute to a growing demand for high quality and varied Halal food. The Halal certification is a concern for the 1.6 billion global Muslim population because many Muslims live in non-Muslim majority countries where Halal-certified food is at times hard to find or where the authenticity of the certification might be questionable.
What is driving the rapid growth in the Halal food market?
Rise in Muslim population
According to research released in 2015, Muslims currently make up about a quarter (23.2 percent) of the global population. The study further states that the rise in the Muslim population is due to a younger demographic – many Muslims live in countries with low median ages like Indonesia, India and Pakistan – and on-going improvements in infant mortality rates. With the rise of the Muslim consumer, food-service chains such as KFC and Nando’s now have Halal outlets, while Pizza Express uses Halal chicken and supermarkets in Europe are stocking up on frozen Halal foods.
Higher disposable income
Increasing income levels among the Muslim population are fuelling demand for new and differentiated Halal food. A growing Muslim population as well as economic development in countries with large populations of Muslims makes this a lucrative segment to invest in. For example, the combined disposable income of an American Muslim in 2012 amounted to USD98 billion.