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Halal Industry
Halal industry roundup: Pakistani food manufacturer to set up UAE subsidiary

Here's a roundup of key developments across the halal industry ecosystem during the month of July. 

 

Editor's note: Have you ever thought of venturing out to the Antarctic? If yes, what held you back? Halal food unavailaibility? Well, not anymore. Muslim travellers will now be able to relish a complete cruising experience at the last continent. So travel away. 

 

Meanwhile, a Pakistan food manufacturing is looking set up shop here in the UAE. 

 

 

 

Company News


Argentina

First-ever halal-certified cruise launches in Antarctica

For the first time in Antarctic history, Muslim travellers who require a halal-certified kitchen will be able to enjoy a complete Antarctic expedition cruising experience.

 

Starting January 2026, the 10-day Halal Cruise - South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula will offer Muslim travellers a chance to visit the last continent aboard the purpose-built ice-class vessel. (Travel Weekly Asia)

 

Pakistan / UAE

Food manufacturer announces setting up UAE subsidiary

Ismail Industries Limited, a Pakistani food manufacturer and exporter, announced plans to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary in Abu Dhabi.

 

The new venture will manufacture, market, sell, and distribute various food products, including biscuits and confectionery.

 

This expansion follows regulatory approval and was disclosed in a bourse filing. (Halal Focus)

 

India / Egypt

Egypt’s IS EG Halal starts operations in India through local office

IS EG Halal, a government-authorized entity for certifying halal exports to Egypt, announced the commencement of its certification operations in India, aiming to expand trade between the two countries.

 

Indian meat exporters have the potential to increase their market share in Egypt from 75-80% to 100%, according to Weal Mohamed Awad Hamed, Egypt's ambassador to India.

 

Speaking at a New Delhi event, Hamed expressed Egypt's support for this growth. (Nuf Foods Spectrum)

 

Regulatory


Belgium

European Court of Human Rights Upholds Belgium’s halal slaughter ban

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a final ruling on Tuesday, rejecting the appeal against Belgium's ban on halal slaughter.

 

Filed by Islamic and Jewish organizations, the appeal argued that the ban infringes on religious freedom. However, the court found no grounds to review the ban.

 

According to Belgian animal rights organization, GAIA, the ECHR's decision on February 13 was upheld, confirming that the ban on halal and kosher slaughter does not violate religious freedom. (Morocco World News)

 

Trade Developments


China

China keen to collaborate with Malaysia in halal sector

China is keen to collaborate with Malaysia in the halal industry, including certification, services, and products, according to Mohamad Alamin, Malaysia's deputy minister for foreign affairs. 

 

Chinese premier Li Qiang conveyed this interest during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on his recent official visit to China. (The Star)

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS :

Halal Industry
Halal industry wrap: Indonesia, Uruguay partner to improve halal products

Here's a roundup of key developments across the halal industry ecosystem during the month of June

Editor's note: Malaysia is planning to advance its Islamic economy ecosystem by setting up a taskforce to coordinate the development of halal industrial parks. The country is also considering tax incentives for halal industry investments, while Chinese companies are looking to tap into Malaysia's sector expertise.

Meanwhile, Indonesia and Uruguay are exploring cooperation for improving halal products. 

 

Company News


Saudi Arabia

LuLu signs MoU to promote Brazilian products in kingdom

LuLu Saudi Hypermarket has partnered with Brazil’s ApexBrasil to boost Brazilian product consumption in Saudi Arabia.

 

The agreement, sealed during Brazilian Vice President Geraldo Alckmin’s visit, aims to strengthen commercial ties and expand the market for Brazilian agricultural goods.

 

The MoU will leverage LuLu's vast retail platform to boost the presence of Brazilian produce in the kingdom (Arab News)

Malaysia

Lady K Malaysia introduces halal and vegan Korean skincare line
Lady K Malaysia recently introduced L Soulle, its halal and vegan Korean skincare line. 

 

The products, free from animal-based ingredients and cruelty-free, offer skincare solutions while upholding strict ethical standards.

 

Developed in collaboration with Kolmar Korea, L Soulle meets the rising demand for inclusive and ethically conscious beauty products. (The Malaysian Reserve)

 

Trade Developments


Indonesia / Uruguay

Indonesia, Uruguay explore cooperation to improve halal products

Indonesia and Uruguay have initiated a partnership to enhance global halal product standards, aligning with Indonesia's aspirations to become a frontrunner in halal production.

Efforts are underway to streamline the accreditation process for Uruguayan halal institutions such as UIC Halal Certification, demonstrating Indonesia's dedication to delivering superior-quality halal products and bolstering international halal standards. (Antara News)

 

Malaysia / Singapore

Malaysia will consider tax incentives for halal industry investments in Johor-Singapore SEZ
Malaysia is considering tax incentives for the halal industry within the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ), announced Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi.

 

The finalized agreement is expected during the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in 2024.  (The Straits Times)

 

Malaysia / China

Chinese companies keen to tap into Malaysia’s halal industry expertise
Chinese companies are increasingly interested in leveraging Malaysia’s expertise in the halal industry.

 

Malaysia, known for its stringent halal certification standards, offers valuable know-how that can help Chinese businesses expand their halal product offerings.

 

This collaboration is expected to boost trade and economic ties between the two countries. (Malay Mail)

 

Saudi Arabia / Brazil

Saudi Arabia holds investment summit in Brazil 
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is set to invest approximately $15 billion in Brazil, focusing on sectors such as green hydrogen, infrastructure, and renewable energy.

 

This announcement was made at the FII Institute summit in Rio de Janeiro. The summit aims to explore investments that benefit humanity, including AI, education, healthcare, and sustainability. (Summa Money)

 

Operational Developments


 

Malaysia

Govt sets up taskforce to coordinate development of halal industrial parks
The government has formed a task force to oversee the development of halal industrial parks and address constraints faced by state governments, announced Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The task force aims to collaborate with state governments to identify and resolve challenges hindering expansion in industrial parks. 

 

Only 11% of allocated land has been developed since 2009. (Bernama news)

 

Indonesia

Indonesia launches logistics association 
Indonesia has launched the Indonesian Halal Logistics Association to improve the halal logistics infrastructure in the country.

 

The initiative aims to ensure that halal products are efficiently managed and transported, meeting stringent requirements of halal certification and boosting the country's halal industry. (Halal Focus)

 

Technology


UAE

UAE explores lab-grown meat capabilities 
The UAE is set to explore lab-grown meat production capabilities in collaboration with Believer Meats.

 

This initiative aims to position the UAE at the forefront of innovative food technology, potentially transforming the meat production industry by making it more sustainable and efficient.  (Halal Focus)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS :

Halal Industry
How will Indonesia’s new government cement its halal economy?

Indonesia is five months away from welcoming defence minister - Prabowo Subianto - as its next president.

President-elect Subianto will succeed incumbent Joko Widodo in October. 

From an Islamic economy standpoint, how will the baton of the Sharia economic & finance national agenda be handed over to the next government?

The transition has, so far, been managed smoothly between the current and upcoming government, says Sutan Emir Hidayat, Sharia ecosystem infrastructure director at the National Sharia Economy and Finance Committee or KNEKS.  

Gauging from the communication conducted with the upcoming president’s Shariah economy teams, there is clear intent to strengthen KNEKS to become an independent entity. 

KNEKS operates under the ministry of finance. 

“They have shown strong commitment to continue what we have achieved. There were discussions regarding KNEKS and its transformation into an independent body, its pros and cons,” Hidayat told Salaam Gateway.

At the moment, KNEKS consist of 16 members, including three coordinating ministries; eight ministries – finance, religious affairs, industry, trade, cooperative & SME, state-owned enterprises (SOE), tourism & creative economy, national development plan - and three institutions as well as the Indonesian chamber of commerce and the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI). 

KNEKS has regional representative offices in almost all provinces across Indonesia except nine, including Papua Island, Bali Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur and Maluku, where majority of its residents are non-Muslims. 

Hidayat added that the Sharia economy and finance agenda is already a part of the National Long Term Development Plan (RPJPN) 2025-2045 and its derivative - the five-year medium term development plan (RJPMN) 2025-2029.

The medium development plan outlines more detailed performance indicators about the Sharia economy masterplan (MEKSI). 

“We are currently completing the MEKSI document and have welcomed governors from regions to explicitly include Sharia economy and finance agenda in their regional development plans with sustainability and continuity. We have asked provinces such as West Kalimantan, Riau, Gorontalo and they have shown enthusiasm so far,” says Hidayat.

The new Sharia economy masterplan, according to Hidayat, is a refinement of MEKSI 2019-2024 and has 13 priority programs. 

“We have worked on these priority programs, but they are very basic and still have gaps. To be more comprehensive, they must be developed further. The new MEKSI will be in line with the five-year medium development plan that is being drafted and it will be used to support the vision of Indonesia’s 2045 social economic transformation,” he emphasises.

The Sharia economy and finance agenda is also included in the 2025 state budget which specifically outlines performance indicators for ministries and institutions that are KNEKS members.

Hidayat hopes the new government, consisting of Subianto and vice-president Gibran Rakabuming Raka, finds new sources of growth. 

Meanwhile, Rezza Artha, a team member of the upcoming government, says the new vice president himself is strongly committed to advancing the Islamic economy through several policies such as training and upskilling professionals in the Islamic banking sector, improving the quality of halal tourism, and the overall halal industry in Indonesia.

During the electoral campaign, the president and vice president issued a vision and mission document, which outlined how the new government will use the Islamic economy as an engine of growth, encouraging Indonesia to become a center of the global halal economy through strengthening its Islamic financial institutions, expanding the ecosystem, education and research, as well as optimizing the utilization of social funds (zakat, sadaqah, waqf, etc.).

“The document also stated that they will establish a Waqf Bank as an economic driver based on the Sharia economy on the basis of academic, thorough study, and comprehensive feasibility tests as well as the preparation of laws and regulations related to the Waqf Bank,” says Artha.

Other initiatives include strengthening state-owned enterprises and the private sector that conduct businesses or offer services across the Islamic economy.

“Prabowo-Gibran clearly stated in their Asta Cita (vision and mission document) that the Islamic economy is a sector they will develop if they received the mandate to run the government in the future,” he adds.

Key challenges
Hidayat admits that not all of the 13 priority programs of the Sharia masterplan ran smoothly during the last five years, the delay of the mandatory halal certifications being one. 

Last month, the country’s coordinating minister for economic affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, announced that the government has postponed the mandatory halal certification of products until 2026, particularly for micro and small enterprises. Micro enterprises are companies whose annual sales are in the range of around $62,586 to $125,295. Sales of small enterprises reach approximately $939,718 per year.

The policy has been postponed for food and beverage products as well as those in the traditional, herbal, and other medicines. The mandate also applies on cosmetics and chemical products, accessories, household goods, and medical device categories.

The original October 2024 deadline for the certification policy will continue to be applicable on medium and large enterprises. 

e had aimed that by 2024 there would be 10 million halal-certified MSME products, but only 4.4 million have secured certifications so far. On that basis and perhaps due to lack of education and awareness, we require a big budget since the Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) and KNEKS alone are not enough for a country as big as Indonesia. That’s why the regulation was postponed for two years. I know we have a risk of reputation following this setback. But it is in the best interest of MSMEs,” says Hidayat. 

Number of halal certified products since 2019

4,418,343

Overall target

10,000,000

%

44.18%

Source: LPPOM MUI website

 

LPPOM director Muti Arintawati said many stakeholders will feel a sense of relief. Recognizing the vast number of businesses and the limited time until October this year, she acknowledged the challenges MSMEs would face in meeting the deadline. 

However, she cautions that this extension should not encourage complacency. Intermediate programs and strict targets must be established to ensure businesses do not delay the certification. 

“The attention should not be solely on the business scale within the MSME sector. The focus should be put on businesses supplying critical materials used in other industries, regardless of whether they are MSMEs or not. This is because the supply of food and beverage-related materials and services involves both large/medium and small/micro businesses," said Arintawati.

For example, meat availability from animal/poultry slaughterhouses is crucial, as meat and its derivatives are used in various culinary products. Extension of such MSMEs in the halal supply chain would hamper the availability of halal meat, hindering halal certification of businesses using meat. Several MSMEs offer repackaged products for spices and baking ingredients as well as operate services related to food and beverage.

Therefore, LPPOM urges the government to focus on solving halal issues in the upstream sector first. 

"Ensuring the availability of halal materials and services will make it easier for MSMEs to produce halal food and beverage end products. It's like a domino effect. If upstream issues are resolved, most halal product issues in Indonesia will also be resolved. The halal certification process will be easier, and the halal guarantee can be more accountable," said Arintawati.

Halal Industry
Why Thailand is poised to become a halal food powerhouse 

Thailand is emerging as a competitive force in the global halal food marketplace as it looks to capture a slice of the booming sector.

With more than 160,000 halal-certified products, the country aims to position itself as a regional halal hub over the next four years, capitalizing on its proximity to Southeast Asia’s Muslim-majority countries as well as increasing its food exports to the Middle East.

“Under the current government, the Ministry of Industry’s Office of Industrial Economics has set a new strategy with the vision of raising the Thai halal industry to be ASEAN’s halal hub by 2028,” Dr. Winai Dahlan, director of the Halal Science Center of Chulalongkorn University tells Salaam Gateway.

To achieve this vision, the Office of Industrial Economics intends to develop the local halal industry to ensure it has the highest quality and standards as well as to reduce limitations and amend regulations for halal accreditation, says Dahlan.

The Halal Science Centre is a government-funded facility that plays a pivotal role in developing halal standardization systems in Thailand.

In early 2024, the Thai Cabinet established the National Halal Industry Committee to steer the development of the halal food sector and the Thai Halal Industry Centre to promote local food products internationally.

These efforts are a part of a broader strategy to develop and promote various halal products and services, including fashion and tourism, as well as to develop a halal economic corridor across the southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun, and parts of Songkhla. The plan is expected to bolster GDP by 1.2% by 2028, while creating an estimated 100,000 jobs annually.

Thailand's halal outlook
Around 64,000 Thai companies
have had their food products halal-certified
There are over 160,000 products with halal certification Certified by the Central Islamic Council of Thailand
Source: Department of International Trade Promotion 

Trade promotion

Despite being a predominantly Buddhist country where Muslims make up only 5.8% of the population, Thailand has taken strategic initiatives to expand its halal food sector and is running intensive trade promotion campaigns to pursue opportunities in promising markets.

“The halal food sector is a large market where consumers have high purchasing power. It accounts for a global market value of approximately $1.2 trillion,” Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, director-general of Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), tells Salaam Gateway.

“DITP has implemented various projects to enhance the potential of Thai halal products in international markets, including branding of such products and promoting their exports to targeted countries.”

DITP operates under the country’s Ministry of Commerce.

For example, the Thailand pavilion at the Gulfood exhibition, that took place in Dubai in February, saw the participation of 134 companies, with trade negotiations reaching a total value of $207.6 million, according to Ministry of Commerce data. These include immediate orders of about $9.2 million. 

Next on DITP’s agenda is to promote Thailand’s halal food products at the upcoming Thaifex 2024, one of Asia’s biggest F&B industry events, as well as among overseas stores and importers, with meetings planned in key cities of Chicago (US), and Doha (Qatar) next month. 

As the main promoter of Thai exports, DITP has also been organizing business matching and trade negotiation activities for halal F&B products. 

Following a series of such meetings in the MENA region in April 2024 - which brought together 10 foreign importers and 21 Thai exporters resulting in a total order value of $25.9 million - DITP has scheduled similar events for Southeast Asia in July, and for East Asia and South Asia in September.

“The Muslim market in ASEAN is massive, and Thailand has significant advantage in logistics and a variety of products that cater to the needs of this consumer segment,” says Sereroengrit.

“With the efforts of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT) and the institutions that inspect and certify various halal standards in accordance with Islamic provisions, halal products have become one of Thailand’s key export sectors and have earned trust among global consumers for their quality and standards.”

Thailand’s free economic system which enables fair competition and is based on open market mechanisms, has also allowed the private sector to contribute to the growth of the halal food sector.

“The state is responsible for controlling and preventing the creation of advantages and disadvantages for any one or group of businesses, and for stimulating competition in price, quality, and style of products. It plays a small role in setting the direction for the country's industrial development,” explains Dahlan.

The halal business case is moving in the same direction, he adds.

“The rapid growth of halal food in Thailand is therefore the work of the private sector – either through agricultural or industrial production; the service sector and the Islamic organization sector in order to ensure the halalness of products. The state only provides support in various fields, including halal science and technology work carried out under state universities,” adds Dahlan.

Giant leap in halal exports

As a result of the government’s support of the industry and the private sector’s efforts, Thailand’s halal food exports have seen a 24-fold increase over the past two decades, with the lion’s share going to the 57 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries, says Dahlan.

Thailand’s exports of halal F&B products to OIC countries amounted to $6.2 million in 2023, a 5.3% increase year-on-year, according to Ministry of Commerce data. The exported goods included rice (35%), sugar (22%), canned and processed seafood (10%), cassava products (4.3%), wheats and ready-to-eat products (3.4%), and fresh and frozen chicken (3.4%).

The export figure is expected to grow by 3% in 2024 to reach $6.4 million.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq, the UAE, and Mozambique accounted for nearly 76% of Thailand’s total halal food exports to OIC countries in 2023. 

However, the country plans to diversify its halal food export markets. Alongside OIC countries, it is eyeing non-Muslim majority countries with large Muslim populations, such as India, China, Russia, the US, and the UK, as well as countries that receive large numbers of Muslim tourists, such as Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Halal compliance

A distinctive feature of Thailand's commitment to the halal industry lies in its compliance with international standards. This commitment led to the acceptance of Thailand as a member of OIC’s Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) in 2017, positioning it as the first non-Muslim nation to be accredited as a participant of the OIC/SMIIC.

Additionally, CICOT - the government organization responsible for issuing Thailand’s halal certification mark - requires businesses that have never held a halal certificate to first undergo training with the Halal Standard Institute of Thailand before applying for certification.

In a step forward for the country’s halal food industry, CICOT received an accreditation from the Saudi Food and Drugs Authority in 2023 and the UAE’s Emirates International Accreditation Centre in 2024, enabling Thailand to export various halal goods to both Middle Eastern countries.

“Halal certification of products in Thailand is in accordance with The Administration of Islamic organizations Act B.E. 2540 (1997), which is under the authority of CICOT in collaboration with the Offices of Islamic Committee of Provinces (ICOP),” says Dahlan.

“As a result, there are 41 halal certification bodies in Thailand: one office of CICOT together with 40 offices of ICOP, with all parties agreeing on the use of the joint mark of halal certification. Around 160,000 products are halal certified and nearly 7,000 establishments and factories are using the joint mark.”

The Halal Science Center’s operations have also led to greater confidence in the safety of halal food products from Thailand. The center plays a major role in strengthening the industry through science and technology and assists other countries in analyzing food samples. 

Since its establishment in 2003, it has developed various innovations, such as the HAL-Q quality management system to integrate halal standards into food safety, and H-numbers – the world’s first database of chemicals used in the food industry. 

With the rapid growth of technology and its impact on the development of commercial businesses, the Halal Science Center is looking to apply Shariah-compliant blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing to its operations, with the goal of building greater trust in the halal economy, says Dahlan.

As Thailand continues to push forward with its strategy, including its plan to turn the Southern Economic Corridor into a hub for halal food, the country is poised to become a major force in the global halal market.

Halal Industry
PIF subsidiary invests in Singapore halal cosmetics firm in localization push 

Halal Products Development Company (HPDC) has invested in Singapore-based Believe to enhance the halal industry ecosystem in Saudi Arabia and localize cosmetics and personal care production capabilities. 

The subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has signed a binding agreement to invest in the halal cosmetics and personal care company to provide Shariah-compliant products domestically and globally. 

This investment aims to relocate Believe's headquarters from Singapore to Saudi to serve as a central hub for exporting its products worldwide, the company said in a statement. 

Believe owns five brands and sells its products – all of which bear halal certification - in several global markets. The company recently expanded into Gulf countries, with the goal to further develop its business in the region.

HPDC aims to establish a factory in Saudi to manufacture the company's brands to localize cosmetics and personal care production capabilities.

It also plans to offer contract manufacturing services for local brands initially and later extending to global brands. 

“Our partnership with Believe represents a strategic opportunity to localize and transfer the company's expertise and resources to Saudi Arabia and provide high-quality products to local and global consumers,” said HPDC CEO Fahad Al Nuhait.  

The investment aims to “empower local companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises" by providing other value-added services alongside contract manufacturing. 

These include innovative formulas, product and brand design, sourcing appropriate raw materials, manufacturing and packaging, as well as building quality Saudi brands and exporting them to global markets.

The cosmetics and personal care industry was worth approximately $352 billion in 2022, of which the halal cosmetics and personal care segment accounted for about $70 billion, owned to factors such as a growing Muslim population, rising disposable income levels and increasing awareness among non-Muslim consumers regarding product ingredients.  
 

Halal Industry
The ‘Brexit’ effect: How has it influenced UK's halal meat market?

The UK officially left the European Union in 2020. Four years on, how has the departure impacted the country's halal meat market?

Challenges across the UK’s halal meat market have compounded in the wake of the country’s departure from the European Union (EU) in 2020 – widely known as Brexit. 

Increased supply chain disruption, a regulatory divergence with the EU and lack of a clear policy from the top are a few of the difficulties facing the UK’s halal meat sector. 

However, despite challenges, positive indicators allude to the opportunities and potential growth of the space. 

Firstly, Muslims are a sizeable consumer force, accounting for 6.5% of all people living across England and Wales in 2021, according to the census 2021 data. Muslims grew substantially in the past decade, up from 2.7 million in 2011 to 3.9 million in 2021. 

Additionally, the UK’s halal meat and poultry sector is a lucrative one, which - at slaughter - is valued at around £1.7 billion, according to a report by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) and the University of Huddersfield. The market is projected to swell to almost £2 billion by 2028, according to the report.

“The UK halal market will continue a positive trajectory due to population growth and high disposable income of the younger Muslim consumer,” Awal Fuseini, one of the report’s authors and halal sector senior manager at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) told Salaam Gateway. 

“Consumer habits are however changing, so meat processors need to develop new products to suit the lifestyles of the younger, more adventurous halal consumer.”

Supply chain disruption

Among other things, Brexit has prompted an increase in bureaucracy and customs, which unfortunately, impacts the entire supply chain. This results in unnecessary confusion, and delays and costs for exporters, distributors as well as importers.

‘Prior to Brexit, there were no delays, checks or certification required and all that was needed was a delivery note,” explains Peter Hardwick, trade policy adviser for the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA). 

“Before Brexit it was the same to deliver goods to Birmingham and Berlin; in fact, you could do it on the same vehicle. Now it is as complicated to deliver meat to the EU as it is to deliver it to Canada.”

The UK held a referendum on its EU membership in June 2016, in which it voted to leave the world’s largest trade bloc. The country officially exited the EU, its biggest trade partner, in January 2020. 

The Brexit agreement meant new rules would govern how the UK and EU would trade with each other. However, four years later, manufacturers and other key stakeholders continue to grapple with key challenges. 

For example, UK meat exporters must – post Brexit - also ensure they have the requisite paperwork in place. Among them is an export health certificate (EHC) - an official document that confirms that the product meets the health requirements of the destination country. Previously this was applicable on exports to non-EU countries only.

Trade is more difficult now, whether export or import, says Rizvan Khalid, managing director at Euro Quality Lambs, a UK-based lamb supplier. 

“There is no opportunity as a result of Brexit that I can think of. It has stopped the export of smaller producers, so that benefits bigger producers like us - that's the one benefit for large traders, not necessarily the consumers,” 

Regulatory divergence with the EU

Despite its exit from the EU, the vast majority of the UK’s meat exports continue to go to the trade bloc. This has promoted the country to recalibrate its processes to adhere to the new requirements.

If British exporters want to export to the EU, says Hardwick, they must fully comply with EU rules, even if the UK rules are different.

“Because some parts of almost all sheep and cattle are exported to the EU, especially offal, the entire supply chain must comply. All that divergence is doing is forcing processors and farmers to actually diverge from, in general, less strict UK rules in order to comply with, on the whole, stricter EU rules or risk losing the ability to export,” he says.

“Above all, as we diverge, we will have to give the EU more guarantees that we meet their rules.”

This has already happened with a new requirement that came into effect at the end of last year where vets have to produce an attestation that each farm meets all of the EU’s biosecurity requirements, adds Hardwick. 

Brexit piles challenges on existing issues 

Brexit has augmented existing domestic challenges rife across the country’s halal meat industry. These include the authenticity of halal certification and the debate as to whether stunning animals at slaughter is permissible.

“Some stunning methods [are] not acceptable for halal, such as captive bolt for cattle or gassing for poultry”, says Khalid.  

“Some suppliers market them as halal using certifiers who are not transparent in what they certify. This causes confusion in the market and makes consumers suspicious of all meat traders, even the genuine ones.”

Other challenges include nurturing a new generation of farmers that is expected to take over in the future.

“Demand for halal meat is growing but livestock supply is not keeping up,” adds Khalid. 

“There are fewer farmers, and are older with little succession plans so getting enough supply to keep up with the religious festivals of Ramadan and Qurbani [Eid ul Adha sacrifice] is a challenge.”

Incoherent government policy

The absence of a clear government policy covering meat, and by extension halal meat, also presents a challenge. Stakeholders argue that this makes it difficult for meat producers and exporters to ensure their end product is halal. 

The UK government does not have a coherent policy on halal meat unlike Australia or New Zealand which have championed national halal marks, adds Khalid.

“Even Canada has issued legislation to tighten up the marketing of halal - any halal claims must be accompanied by the name/brand of the halal certifier which increased transparency and trust. The UK in contrast is missing opportunities by not nurturing the development of the halal market,” he notes.  

Type of fraud Description Example
Misrepresentation Selling a product as something that it is not Selling mutton and describing it as lamb or selling meat from stunned animals as nonstunned and vice versa
Substitution Replacing all or part of a product with another substance of a similar kind without altering its overall characteristics Using mutton in lamb kebabs and describing it as lamb
Adulteration Rendering food poorer in quality by adding extraneous substances Beef sausages made with little or no beef
Source: Report by the UK's Halal Monitoring Committee and the University of Huddersfield

 

Lucrative trade deals could yield gains

As the UK advances to secure free trade agreements (FTA) with non-EU countries, it could leverage on its halal meat exports.

The UK is currently negotiating an FTA with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a bloc of six Muslim majority countries, in what is expected to be a substantial economic opportunity for the country. 

Total UK-GCC trade stood at £59 billion, with the potential pact expected to open new opportunities for British halal meat exporters looking to diversify away from the EU.

“UK exporters have started looking closely at alternative halal markets, the Middle East being a prime example,” says Fuseini. “We have seen an appreciable increase in the value of halal meat exported to the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.”

But Hardwick cautions that UK’s legacy trade deals which it rolled over from leaving the EU -and the trade deals it made subsequently - have had little to no effect on exports and are unlikely to do so. 

“The UK’s greatest unique selling point is delivering fresh meat quickly and flexibly to near markets, specifically the EU, and in order to serve the distant markets covered by these trade deals, we will have to deliver frozen meat. Freezing adds costs and reduces value,” he adds.

Nonetheless, Fuseini is optimistic that the UK government is following up to take advantage.

“The government clearly recognises the importance of the halal sector, that is why we are seeing increased activities in the Middle East by the Department for Business and Trade,” he says. 

“Furthermore, the government appointed an agriculture counsellor for the Middle East, mandated to promote UK agri-products to the growing Muslim population.”

Halal Industry
Halal industry wrap: Brunei aims to import halal food from Bangladesh

Here's a roundup of key developments across the halal industry ecosystem during the first three weeks of May

Editor's note: Brunei has revealed its interest in importing Bangladeshi halal food, a welcome note for the South Asian country. Meanwhile, Indonesia is keen to up its 'halal' game, by enforcing mandatory halal certifications on local products. Uzbekistan wants to leverage off Malaysia's halal standards expertise to ramp up its offerings. 

Company News


Qatar

Lulu launches Thai halal food promotion in Qatar

Lulu Hypermarket Qatar has launched the Thai Halal Food Promotion, a culinary extravaganza showcasing Thailand's diverse flavors and cultural heritage.

 

The inauguration was held at the D-ring branch of Lulu Hypermarket. (The Peninsula)

 

UAE

Halal-friendly Filipino ice cream brand enters UAE

Miguelitos Ice Cream, Philippines' soft ice cream brand with over 600 stores, is set to enter the UAE market.

 

Its CEO Marlon Aman celebrated the strategic partnership, highlighting its potential to introduce Miguelitos to the UAE market. (Filipino Times)

 

 

Regulatory


Indonesia

Halal certification of products mandatory from October

The Ministry of Trade in Indonesia is set to enforce mandatory halal certification for products manufactured by the country's micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from October 2024 onwards.

 

Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan emphasized the necessity of this measure during an announcement in Tangerang, highlighting its role in enhancing consumer and producer confidence and bolstering product competitiveness in the global market. (Antara News)

 

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan wants to cooperate with Jakim in halal standards

Uzbekistan seeks collaboration with Malaysia's department of Islamic Development (Jakim) to elevate its halal standards, announced Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

 

This was a key outcome of his bilateral meetings with Uzbekistan's president Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

 

Additionally, Uzbekistan plans to partner with the National Heart Institute (IJN) to enhance medical treatment and undertake joint projects, and will send its agriculture minister to Malaysia to learn advanced water-saving and agricultural technologies. (New Straits News)

 

Indonesia

Indonesia government expands authority of halal product determination

The Indonesian government has decided to extend halal certification authority beyond the central Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to include provincial MUI, regency/city MUI, the Aceh Ulama Consultative Council, and the Halal Product Fatwa Committee, announced Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto.

 

This expansion was decided during a meeting with the President on the halal issue. (Setkab)

 

 

Trade Developments


Malaysia / Japan

Malaysia discusses bilateral trade cooperation, role as halal hub with Japan

Deputy agriculture and food security minister Arthur Joseph Kurup and Japanese parliamentary vice-minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries Mitsuo Takahashi met to explore avenues of collaboration between Malaysia and Japan.

 

The discussions encompassed bilateral trade cooperation, the agricultural sector, and Malaysia's burgeoning role as a halal hub, presenting opportunities for mutual benefit. (The Star)

 

Brunei / Bangladesh

Brunei keen to import halal food from Bangladesh

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud revealed Brunei's interest in importing halal food items from Bangladesh, signaling potential economic cooperation between the two nations.

 

The official emphasized Bangladesh's stance in enhancing trade ties and fostering investment, particularly evident during recent diplomatic engagements across Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. (TBS News)

 

Saudi Arabia / Malaysia

IsDB, HPDC and HDC's collaboration to spearhead innovation for global halal industry

The Halal Economy Leadership Forum 2024 was held in Riyadh, bringing together industry leaders, policymakers, and experts to deliberate on the role of the halal economy in global commerce.

 

Jointly hosted by the Halal Development Corporation (HDC), Halal Products Development Company (HPDC), and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the forum underscored the importance of collaboration and innovation within the halal industry for sustained growth and development. (Zawya)

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong seeks to expand halal food options to draw more Muslim tourists

Hong Kong aims to become more Muslim-friendly by expanding its halal food offerings to attract tourists from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Muslim-majority regions in mainland China.

 

"We would like to attract more of the entire Muslim travel market… We hope they will come to Hong Kong, and then perhaps venture further into mainland China," said Hong Kong Tourism Board executive director Dane Cheng during a recent visit to Dubai in May. (Straits Time)

 


 

UPCOMING EVENTS :

Halal Industry
Americana's profit drops as Gaza crisis hurt sales 

American Restaurants International’s profit tumbled in the first quarter of 2024, as MENA-based customers continue to reject Western brands in response to the Gaza conflict. 

The quick service restaurant operator reported a 16.3% dip in revenues year-on-year, to $493.5 million. 

Net profit dipped more steeply, from $58.1 million in the first quarter of 2023 to $28 million in Q1 this year – a drop of 51.8%.  

Americana, which runs 2,456 restaurants across the region, attributed the decline in sales to “ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region, as well as the seasonal effect of Ramadan period”.

The company, which operates brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s and Krispy Kreme across the MENA region, opened 37 new outlets in the first three months of this year, with a similar count of stores under construction. The operator slashed almost 100 jobs amid internal restructuring and consumer disengagement, following the Gaza crisis. 

Americana’s shareholders approved a total dividend of $179.4 million – equivalent to $0.0213 per share - at its annual general meeting held on April 24. The company, which is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Tadawul, expects to open 200-225 new stores this year. 

Several US brands perceived as pro-Israel have been hard-hit in the wake of the Palestinian conflict. Kuwait-based Alshaya Group confirmed in March that it planned to furlough employees across its Starbucks MENA stores. It was also in talks to sell a minority stake in the coffee chain's regional business. 

 


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