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Regulations and Compliance

CASE STUDY-UK independent certifier Halal Food Authority going global to stay ahead

by DinarStandard | 18 September, 2016 | Case Study
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CASE STUDY-UK independent certifier Halal Food Authority going global to stay ahead
Photo: Meat and poultry section in a supermarket / Niloo / Shutterstock.com

HALAL FOOD AUTHORITY

Year of establishment 1994
Company status

Independent, voluntary, non-profit organization

CEO

Saqib Mohammed

Headquarters

London, UK

Scale

Over 130 clients

 

KEY INSIGHTS

There is increasing appetite from British companies to be halal-certified in order to gain access to lucrative export markets such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and the growing middle classes in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia.

The United Kingdom does not have a national-level centralized halal certification body and there are a number of independent halal certifiers, of which Halal Food Authority (HFA) stands out as the one that is recognized by the most number of foreign halal certifiers and authorities, including widely-respected Malaysia’s JAKIM, Indonesia’s MUI, and the United States’ IFANCA. This enables its clients to access major markets of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

HFA acts as a focal point for the industry and facilitates discussion between players and provides essential thought leadership.

The organization is international and stays abreast of major developments. This is important as the regulation of the industry is subject to significant change, with a recent move to accreditation.

COMPANY OVERVIEW

Established in 1994, the Halal Food Authority is one of the largest halal certifiers in the United Kingdom. It has certified companies across a broad range of product categories including meat, ingredients, processed food, retail establishments, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

1. HFA is recognized by leading halal certifiers: Malaysia’s JAKIM, Indonesia’s MUI, and the United States’ IFANCA. It is the only other UK certifier recognized by JAKIM, the other being The Muslim Food Board (UK), according to JAKIM’s latest list of recognized halal authorities published Feb 15, 2016 (pdf).

2. HFA was also officially appointed by Dubai Municipality to certify specific UK consignments of meat and poultry for exports to the UAE. HFA halal export certificates are exclusively issued for this purpose and are a mandatory requirement for custom clearance at UAE ports of entry.

OPPORTUNITIES ADDRESSED

The HFA seeks to oversee the increasing number of companies addressing the halal opportunity, serving as a certifier as well as a gateway to export markets.

It is well-positioned to continue client acquisition, driven by underlying positive growth in the global halal food industry as an increasing number of players seek to address Muslim demand.

1. Increasingly discerning market

Muslim consumers are increasingly demanding no haram ingredients in the products that they consume – across food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

2. Growth domestic market

Muslims in the United Kingdom contributed an estimated 31 billion British pounds ($46.5 billion) to the national economy in 2014, according to the Muslim Council of Britain. Of this amount, Muslim household spend on food and beverages was an estimated $6.3 billion with 5 percent CAGR to 2020. The BBC estimates the UK halal food market at $4.5 billion in 2014.

3. EU halal demand

There is increasing demand for halal food across Europe, driven by rapid growth in the Muslim population, as well as increasing adherence to halal lifestyle requirements, and increasing preference for halal meat among non-Muslims.

4. Global export markets

The UK exported close to $70 million in meat and live animals to OIC markets in 2015, according to ITC Trademap data.

HFA is seeking accreditation from the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and if and when its application is successful, the organization is likely to benefit from the increased global move towards halal food accreditation, differentiating itself from other certifiers in Europe. It will then be able to market itself as a leading, high-quality international certifier to new clients seeking export markets in growing Islamic economies in the GCC, MENA and Southeast Asia.

STRATEGY COMPONENTS

1. Certifying companies across the halal value chain

HFA has certified over 130 companies across the value chain.

Leading brands include multinational clients that each earns annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. These include KFC, Krispy Crème, Nestle, and Unilever.

While the company has historically certified only stunned meat, it announced in May this year that it would start certifying non-stunned meat as well, but using an alternative logo. For CEO Saqib Mohammed this move allows the “consumer to choose”, and HFA  will offer “additional, daily inspection” to ensure adherence.

However, exhibiting maturity and scale in how it certifies, HFA’s remit spans the entire halal food value chain, including abattoirs, ingredients, food processing, retail, and cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

Challenging the misconception that halal food is focused primarily on meat, Mohammed recently commented in an excerpt from the HFA Halal Industry Conference (HHIC) 2016 in May, that meat forms a “small part” of a consumer’s diet and that all aspects need to be halal.

2. Thought leader for the halal food industry

The HFA plays a broader role in the halal industry, interacting with it through training programs and organizing and actively participating in key international events.

The company’s 2nd Halal Industry Conference (HHIC) 2016 in London in May gathered industry leaders and international certifiers to discuss issues. The organization was a key participant in other events this year: the Muslim Lifestyle Show (MLS) in London in April, the Global Islamic Economy Summit Halal Products Roundtable organized by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre in conjunction with the MLS, and the 7th Halal Certification Bodies Convention organized by JAKIM.

The organization also offers formalized training to halal industry participants through a compliance course at a nominal price of just under $900 per person.

3. Gateway to high-growth international markets

The HFA serves as a key gateway for UK companies to access international markets, having been recognized by both Malaysia’s JAKIM and Indonesia’s MUI.

If and when accredited by the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), HFA’s credentials will be strengthened across the MENA region, helping clients access a highly lucrative, high-growth export market.

The organization’s enviable recognition helps its clients avoid obtaining multiple certifications, which adds both to cost and organizational complexity and inhibits entrance into the halal market. 

CHALLENGES

While the UK has experienced significant growth in its halal food industry, there has also been a negative backlash from the public with a negative campaign by the Britain First political party that has sought to paint halal slaughtering in a negative light.

Furthermore, the decision for the UK to leave the European Union as a result of the EU referendum in June 2016 is causing significant concern and uncertainty for the halal food industry.  “The UK halal market will be treated as an isolated market now – we might need an office in Europe to ensure we can continue to service our clients’ needs,” said Mohammed.

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