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mikey

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The Global Halal Market:
« on: September 25, 2008, 09:35:28 AM »
The Global Halal Market: Opportunities and Challenges
A reliable certification body, excellent quality product, and market research are the keys to capturing a sizable chunk of the global Halal market.

There is a particular challenge that most food manufacturers have to face in penetrating the amazing and huge Middle East market. This challenge is to meet the the Muslim concept of Ilalal, from which almost all products-from food to cosmetics must adhere to. Halal is an Arabic term meaning “permissible.” It most frequently refers to food that is permissible according to Islamic law. In the Arabic language, it refers to anything that is permissible under Islam. In non-Arabic-speaking countries; the term is most commonly used in the narrower context of just Muslim dietary laws, especially where meat and poultry are concerned, though it can be used for the more general meaning, as well. It is similar to kosher, the Jewish special diet.

Globally there are 1.5 to 1.8 billion Muslims spread out in loo countries. All of them are required by their religion to buy only Halal products. An estimated 70% of all Muslims adhere to the restrictions favoring Halal resulting in a global market worth $580 billion as of 2005. Tapping even a small portion of the market can mean a lot to Filipino food exporters.

What exactly is Halal food? According to the ASEAN General Guidelines on the Preparation and Handling Food, Halal food “is any food that does not contain components or products of animals that are unlawful as food to Muslims in accordance to the Shariah Law or of lawful animals that are not slaughtered according to Shariah law.” The food must not contain anything considered The objective of this technique is to effectively drain the body of the animal’s blood, resulting in more hygienic meat. In the process, it aims to minimize the pain and agony of the animal. Several other conditions are also stated: the knife’s blade should be extremely sharp yet not be sharpened in front of the animal, the animal must not be slaughtered in front of other animals, and the animal’s eyes and ears must be checked to ensure its health and suitability for slaughter. If it is deemed to be healthy, it is given water to drink. And then the slaughter can begin.

Though the standards are usually uniform, there exist small variations in Halal standards worldwide. An example would be on the use of additives like the use of monosodium glutamate or MSG. This is disallowed in certain countries while allowed in others. Some countries also require food workers to be Muslims for the products to be Halal while others do not. In some countries, vegetables are given automatic Halal status. That is why it is important to know the regulations of the country you wish to export in and know whether these regulations are lax or strict. Philippine Halal regulations are patterned after Brunei’s-one of the stricter countries in terms of regulations.

Given this rather laborious process, is it still worth it to enter the Halal market? Well aside from the international market, we also have the regional and local markets to consider. Locally there are five to six million Muslims in the country. There is a large demand among local Muslims for Halal products that need to be met. The export market for Halal is also extremely promising. In 2006, Philippine Halal food exports were valued at $1.824 billion USD. Out of these $923 million USD were processed foods. Top exports included processed fruits, nuts and coconut products, dairy and eggs, sugar and confection, beverages, etc. These products were sent to over fifty countries including China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE, etc.

Regionally, ASEAN countries are moving to capitalize on the emerging Halal food market. Since there are also sizable Muslim populations as well as Muslim countries in the ASEAN there has been a move to liberalize the trading of Halal products in the regional bloc. A group has also developed standards for Halal in the region. This resulted in the ASEAN Guidelines on the Preparation and Handling of Halal Food signed in 1998. Malaysia, which plans to envision itself as a regional Halal food hub, has allotted an island, devoted to Halal food production and has recently invited Filipino exporters to participate by supplying raw materials. Singapore and Brunei both have large Muslim populations with large purchasing power and being small countries, they are dependent on food imports. Indonesia with its 200 million Muslims is also an important market to tap.

Other important Halal markets include the Middle East countries, which have the fastest population and middle class growth rates in the world. They also have some of the largest per capita incomes in the world coupled by a huge need to import food. The United States and United Kingdom both have large and fast growing Muslim minorities. In the case of the United States their Muslim population is growing six times faster than the rest of the world. These groups have large purchasing power. Figures say in the US alone, the Halal trade is worth $12 billion USD with six states passing the Halal food laws. In the UK the Halal trade is worth 20.5 billion pounds. South Africa has a market potential for Halal foods due to its large Muslim population and dependency on food imports. China and India also have sizable Muslim populations each with more than 100 million Muslims. Given the diversity of the Halal market, it is essential that anyone who wants to take part in the market must do his or her research very we1L They have to tailor their strategies to cater to the unique cultural and religious needs of their target markets.

Given the size and scale of the global Halal markets, government has moved to aggressively promote and improve Philippine Halal products. In 2006, President Arroyo signed Memorandum order 201, which mandates all agencies to harmonize all Halal related programs to ensure compliance with the International standards. The lead agency for this is the Department of Trade and Industry other agencies in the project are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Science and Technology, Department of Tourism, and Office of Muslim Affairs. There are also combined DOT and DTI teams tasked with taping the Mid East Halal market.

There are several government authorized halal certification agencies in the Philippines. Unlike other countries that allow their governments to be the certifying body for Halal, our constitution forbids this due to the separation of church and state. There are also several standards we adhere to such as CODEX Alimentarius, ISO, and Manual for the Slaughter of Ruminants in Developing Countries-FAO, Islamic Ruling on Animal Slaughter-FAO, etc. In an attempt to streamline all the Halal standards the DTI, in consultation with various Muslim leaders, came up with the Philippine National Halal Standards. Some of the Halal certifying bodies are Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines, Philippine Ulama Congress Organization Inc and Ulama Conference of the Philippines, Philippine Aw’qaf & Zakat Foundation
Inc among others.

The DTI has also laid out a marketing plan for Halal. These consist of a tripartite partnership between the government, business, and the Muslims each supporting the other. The DTI is beginning to study ways to penetrate more niche markets primarily in promoting Halal as an alternative to kosher among Jews. Awareness of the Philippine Halal products is also being pushed. The government is also making studies on Muslim consumption patterns. They are also planning more overseas trade shows, product sales and marketing, and the promotion of Halal certification among exporters. Also, our government is planning to forge Mutual Recognition Agreements with other countries to ensure the competitiveness of Philippine products. They are also looking at the possibility of using OFW’s as a marketing tool in order to bridge markets either by products promotion or in gathering data.

To apply for Halal certification, a company first has to write a letter to the certifier with the specifications of the product. Next, the business registration, BFAD registration, product samples, ingredients list, BFAD certification, chemical and laboratory analysis must be submitted to the certifier. Laboratory and ingredient lists are mandatory to ensure that there are no haram components. The manufacturing centers must be inspected to ensure that no haram products are stored, handled, etc. and that there is no chance for contamination of the product The Halal certificate must be resubmitted annually including laboratory and inspection, and certification fees. Another set of Halal certification documents is required for business establishment like abattoirs, service industry, as well as supermarkets, and delivery vans. Exporters are advised to verify with the buyers the acceptability of their chosen certifier in the country of destination.

The Halal market offers Filipino exporters a potentially lucrative and large market to tap. A reliable certification body, excellent quality product, and market research are the keys to capturing a sizable chunk of this market.



 

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