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The Future of Halal Food

Halal food is a growing business across the world and business experts predict it to expand even faster. This prediction is primarily based on two solid reasons:

  1. Muslim population keeps growing and so do their food needs and aspirations.
  2. Halal food is also becoming popular among non-Muslims for different reasons.

What is Halal Food?
Halal means permissible. Actually, halal food is any kind of food that is permitted for Muslims to consume as per religious guidance. Since almost all kinds of vegetarian stuff (except sedative and piousness) are allowed in Islam. The main aim of this article is focused on the Halal meat.

Now, what’s halal meat? There are many kinds of animals that Muslims can consume but there are others they can’t. For example, meat of sheep, goat, cow, camel, chicken, duck, dove, etc, are allowed if it is slaughtered in an Islamic way, but pork, crow, toad, etc, are forbidden and it is Haram for Muslims.

Demand for Halal Food
The global population of Muslims is estimated to be around 1.98 billion (or 24.9% of humankind).

Muslims are religiously duty-bound to only consume halal food. There’s no excuse, except for saving your very life. In all other circumstances, Muslims have to eat Halal. Therefore, food spending is a prime thing in their budget.

So, the halal food business is not a fad or fashion. It’s been there since the emergence of Islam and it will keep here forever.

And, Muslims happen to be as great food lovers as any other people. Then there’s a significant portion of Muslim youth that is tapping the economic opportunities presented by technological advances, increasing the purchasing power that enables them to go beyond their traditional minimal food basket.

It’s not just Muslims that consume halal foods, an increasing number of non-Muslims also are seeking halal meat for certain benefits that the Islamic way of slaughtering provides. There will be more on this later in this article.

Business Opportunity
The business community is investing more funds and human resources to fulfil the ever-increasing demand for halal foods. But the overall demand is so high that there is an acute shortage of halal foods in some parts of the world, including many Muslim countries.

This shortage issue is more pressing in parts of Europe, where there are large Muslim communities, but the supply is limited. The Muslim population here has kept growing at a significant pace but the food industry has failed to fulfil the halal food demand for different reasons. Mostly, it has either simply failed to appreciate the opportunity or lacked the culture and skills to process halal foods.

For example, the Muslims in Norway often have to go to Sweden to buy halal stuff. And, even there, the available food is not fresh, since the items are frozen to extend their shelf life. Obviously, frozen food is not preferable but Norwegian Muslims have no choice.

Frozen meat loses some quality attributes on thawing. Even if there’s no significant change in nutritional value, its texture, juiciness, freshness, and chewiness is affected. However, the damage can be minimised through controlled thawing.

Apparently, the biggest challenge in investing in halal foods is demographic and geographic.

The Muslim population in many countries in Europe is scattered, with few clusters large enough to sustain large food processing units. A scattered Muslim population means you can’t do without cold storage facilities and the transportation costs are also going to be higher than usual.

But this challenge can be surmounted with better and more efficient supply modes. And this is worth doing simply because Muslims would buy halal even if its costs more. They will also go for frozen halal meat than fresh non-halal flesh.

Business Beyond Boundaries
The biggest advantage of the halal food business is that your products can be sold beyond the home market. Muslims are everywhere and despite being different in their cuisine preferences, the basic required item is the same – halal meat.

It’s not just geographic borders that won’t hinder this business, the halal food appeal goes across cultural and religious barriers. A growing number of non-Muslims are turning to halal meat for its taste, appearance, nutritional value, and health benefits.

Why Halal Food?
Halal meat is sourced from places where there are minimal chances of any kind of contamination. For example, in the UK, halal meat is mostly sourced from farmed assured and Red Tractor assured farms.

It’s not just the consciousness of the modern man that is behind this selection of the good and healthy stuff, actually, Islam as a religion also bounds its adherents to follow certain practices that make halal more hygienic, safe, and clean, the concept which is called Halal and Tayyab which means permissible and safe.

  1. Islam forbids eating animals that are unwell, unfit, diseased, or dead.
  2. Animals must be reared with love, care, and respect.
  3. The animals are kept calm and stress-free during the slaughtering process. Lack of stress decreases the release of hormones that can change meat quality and sensory attributes.
  4. In the Islamic way of animal slaughter, blood is completely drained off the carcass. Due to the absence of blood, the meat becomes more tender, juicy, and tasty. The draining of blood also extends the shelf life of meat as harmful pathogenic bacteria cannot grow in the meat.

For all these reasons, halal meat is more nutritious and excellent in quality and taste. Several research studies have proved that halal meat also boosts the immune system and is healthier for the brain and metabolism. A stronger metabolism means an enhanced ability to absorb nutrients and detoxification – the removal of harmful substances from the body.

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