In 2020, more German companies in the food, pharma and cosmetics industries invested in halal to remain competitive in the export markets and to satisfy consumer needs.
This is a trend Günther Ahmed Rusznak verifies, despite a pandemic dampening economic growth worldwide.
“Our business is hardly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rusznak told Salaam Gateway. “We are busy with the requests that come to us.”
Rusznak is the founder and CEO of Islamic Information Documentation and Certification GmbH (IIDC), an independent inspection center that celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year. The Austrian and his team of twelve cover the European market via offices in Germany, France, Austria, and Hungary.
“I am amazed. I thought that we’d experience a business setback, but apparently halal exports are not affected,” Rusznak said.
His experience attests to the latest State of the Global Islamic Economy Report findings: With a forecasted decline of 0.2%, the COVID-19 crisis will not result in a significant drop in Muslim food expenditure for 2020, according to the report from DinarStandard.
This forecast is a boon for German exporters to majority Muslim markets. This also means a continued growth in business for halal certifiers.
IIDC is recognized by key halal authorities UAE’s ESMA and Malaysia’s JAKIM, which makes their services valuable for German companies seeking to export to sizeable Muslim markets. Three other halal certifiers working in Germany are also recognized by ESMA: RACS, Halal Control GmbH, and Halal Quality Control.
Recognition by ESMA is critical for Germany’s exports of consumables to the Gulf region. In 2019, the EU’s largest economy increased food product exports to the UAE by 7.8% to 268 million euros ($323 million), making it the country’s second-largest target market in the Gulf, after Saudi Arabia ($588 million). Dairy products ($66 million), sweets and sugar confectionery ($45 million), and baked goods ($33 million) lead in the product groups ranking. And Germany is pushing for more trade with the UAE. During February 8 – 9 next year, the German Export Association for Food and Agriculture (GEFA), in cooperation with the Federal Ministry and Germany’s UAE Chamber of Foreign Trade, will host a B2B online matchmaking event for the sector.
IIDC initially started with certifying meat exports from Germany and Austria to the Gulf region and soon the certification business began to explode, according to Rusznak recalling the company’s first years in the trade.
“Suppliers of the meat industry, such as the spice and beverage trade, followed step by step,” added the IIDC CEO.
A case in point is Gelita AG. The firm, a leading supplier of collagen proteins for the food, health nutrition, and pharmaceutical industries, acquired 65% of the shares in Turkish gelatin producer SelJel in early December.
The Joint Venture is part of Gelita’s growth strategy to meet the increasing demand for gelatin, in particular halal bovine gelatin.
“All their products have halal status, which helps us to meet the growing demand for these products,” Gelita’s CEO Dr. Franz Josef Konert said in a press release.
In 2019, the company generated a revenue of 749 million euros ($904 million). It was established in 1875 in the southwestern federal state Baden-Württemberg, bordering France and Switzerland. The founding family still owns the closed joint-stock company.
In more than 21 production plants, about 2,600 employees produce over 90,000 tons of gelatin, collagen, and collagen peptides per year. The SelJel deal adds 6,500 tons capacity of edible, pharmaceutical, and technical gelatin.
The remaining 35% of the SelJel shares stay with the founders Tezman, who will continue to manage the business.
Publicly-listed Symrise AG, a supplier of fragrances, flavors, food, nutrition, and cosmetic ingredients, constitutes another sizable German firm banking on expanding its halal portfolio.
In November, Symrise inked a deal with Sensient Technologies to take over the U.S. firm’s fragrance business unit, comprising a wide range of aroma molecules and fragrances from natural and renewable sources such as pine and citrus oil.
Under Sensient, the unit generated 77 million euros ($93 million) in 2019 at sites in Mexico and Spain. A Symrise company spokeswoman confirmed to Salaam Gateway that the Spain site already produces a range of halal-certified products.
The investment came after a solid 2019 business performance, minted by a 12.2% operating result increase to over 707 million euros ($852 million).
truu, another Baden-Württemberg-based company, received its first halal certificate on July 22. The firm specializes in the production of drinking water refinement systems.
The certification, carried out by Switzerland-based Halal Certification Services GmbH (HCS), applies to the tested water itself, the production process of the systems, and the supply chains and materials used.
“With the halal certificate, we guarantee our Muslim partners and consumers that we strictly adhere to the halal rules relating to the production of our water treatment systems, including truu original water,” CEO Timo Krause said in a press statement.
According to the company, its water refinement layers filter out pollutants in eight stages for which mineral and drinking water cannot be reliably tested yet, such as microplastics.
The fast-growing company ranks 27 in the “FOCUS & Statista Growth Champion 2021 - Top 500 Germany”.
Market and consumer data company Statista invited over 15,000 companies to participate in the competition’s sixth edition. Others could apply via public tender.
Five hundred companies standing out by the highest sales growth between 2016 and 2019 made it into the ranking published in October by German-language news magazine FOCUS.
As Germany’s largest breeder and processor, PHW Group’s focus is on its poultry brand Wiesenhof. The Wiesenhof website shows HCG (Halal Certification Germany) halal-certified nine of the brand’s eleven poultry processing plants.
With over 7,000 employees and 1,000 farmers, the third-generation family business generated 2.68 billion euros ($3.24 billion) in turnover in the 2018/19 fiscal year.
This is a financial success PHW may be able to repeat this year as Germany’s poultry meat production continued to grow and increased by 1.9% to 801,800 tons in the first half of 2020.
(Reporting by Petra Loho; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim [email protected])
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