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Halal Industry
Clear halal and stunning labelling needed to help consumers choose meat, say animal rights and halal groups

Consumers have the right to know if meat has been pre-stunned or not.

 

Brussels: European consumers need to be offered clear labelling so they only buy halal meat, especially from animals not pre-stunned before slaughter, if they choose, animal rights organisations and halal groups say.

“It would be helpful if all meat was labelled pre-stunned or not so people can make informed choices,” Nick Palmer, head of Compassion in World Farming UK, an animal welfare campaign and lobbying group, told Salaam Gateway.

He said it was undesirable for non-pre-stunned meat to be accidentally purchased by consumers who preferred to avoid it.

His comments come as the labelling issue was raised in the European Parliament. In a written parliamentary question, Greek European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) MEP Emmanouil Fragkos asked about the “increasing number of Islamic butchers selling halal meat” in Greece. He claimed “Christians living in largely or primarily Muslim communities within which Islamic butchers operate, unfortunately find themselves obliged to consume halal meat against their will”.

However, there was no European Union (EU) legislation on meat labelling corresponding to religious practices to avoid this situation, a European Commission official told Salaam Gateway. EU member state regulators, religious authorities and non-governmental organisations have competence in this matter.

The official said it was up to consumers to decide whether or not they wanted to consume halal or non-halal food.

Palmer told Salaam Gateway the issue for animal welfare was not really halal meat, but meat from properly stunned animals. There was no animal welfare-related reason to object to halal if pre-stunning had happened, as was often the case.

However, Brussels still allowed slaughter without stunning, justified under the EU 2009 Council regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing. This accommodated religious slaughter in slaughterhouses.

Fragkos said despite mounting pressure to stop this practice, on 18 June the Brussels regional parliament voted against a bill to ban halal and kosher slaughter in the Belgian capital. Slaughter without stunning was banned in the Belgian provinces Wallonia and Flanders in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Palmer said a butcher deciding to only sell meat from pre-stunned animals may gain customers concerned about the issue while losing others. However, he had not heard that butchers found the issue unmanageable.

“Some will choose to sell all kinds of meat; others will specialise either for ethical or religious reasons, or simply a commercial judgement that one market is more profitable. As for consumers, many simply want the nearest convenient and affordable food,” he said.

He said typically religion did not enter people’s thoughts when deciding what to have for a family meal, and there would be crossover with some Muslims buying non-halal and some non-Muslims buying halal.

“However, an increasing number of consumers from all religions want to feel the animals have been treated well, including minimising suffering at slaughter, and the large quantity of halal meat coming from pre-stunned animals perhaps reflects that preference,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Salah Eldin, halal administrator at the Brussels-based Halal Federation of Belgium (HFB), said more butchers selling halal meat should not be an issue for Christians and non-Muslims.

The matter only affected a small number of customers and would not influence the market, he told Salaam Gateway. Belgium Muslims account for less than 500,000 people out of the country’s 11.6 million population and 10% of the EU and eastern Europe populations.

According to data from USA-based think tank Pew Research Centre cited by worldatlas.com, among the Western European countries, France (7.5%), Netherlands (6%) and Belgium (5.9%) had the greatest share of Muslims in their population in 2010.

However, neither EU statistical office Eurostat nor market researcher Euromonitor International possess figures on the proportion of halal meat sold in Europe, but Euromonitor figures show meat consumption (and thus the amount of halal meat sold) varies significantly country by country.

France consumes 824,200 tonnes of beef and veal and 85,400 tonnes of lamb, mutton and goat and Italy (725,700 tonnes of beef and veal and 54,200 tonnes of lamb, mutton and goat), effectively topping the table.

 

 
Read - Halal and non-halal experts work to treat animals humanely – but consciousness at killing remains a concern
 
Read - Global cultured meat market set to boom, but is it halal?
 
Read - European rules on butchering tighten, challenging halal sector
 

 

Eldin insisted halal was “a quality label and quality concept” and large French families often tried halal butchers, for poultry predominantly, as the meat was cheaper. Once discovering the quality, they remained with halal.

He said studies by the University of Ghent have argued stunning was not the main animal welfare concern, taking account of an animal or bird’s entire life. An older paper emphasised that Muslims bought meat considering all aspects of animal welfare and health.

Halal-slaughtered animals must have been fed a natural diet containing no animal by-products; properly transported to the slaughterhouse and slaughtered on their own.

“It is a ‘farm to fork’ issue,” he told Salaam Gateway, claiming non-halal meat was often slaughtered in industrial conditions by commercial businesses.

He agreed labelling and standards were essential to stop consumer confusion when buying meat. Halal meat should carry a halal certificate showing the animal had been slaughtered using a sharp knife and had lived according to halal conditions.

“We are working with the EU and animal rights groups like GAIA (Belgium-based Global Action in the Interest of Animals) to ensure proper halal standards.”

Eldin argued Muslims were not obliged to eat halal, but health-wise it was better for them.

Meanwhile the popularity of halal meat was undeniable and Brussels boasted not only halal butchers, but also halal pizzerias and snack bars.

Islamic butchers Boucherie Nassiri in Forest (or Vorst in Dutch), Brussels, told Salaam Gateway his meat carried no official certificate, but “everyone knows the meat is halal” as it is written on the shop sign (in Arabic) on the door.

“We also have halal meat written on our bills,” he said, adding his customers are both Muslims and non-Muslims.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Indonesia prepares 2.3 million livestock for Eid al Adha sacrifice

Government anticipates matching demand without importing.

 

Jakarta: The Indonesian government has prepared 2.3 million animals for the Eid al Adha festival of sacrifice this year with the country’s animal health monitoring online system indicating there will be no need to import.

Director general of livestock and animal health at the agriculture ministry Nasrullah told Salaam Gateway the demand for 1.8 million animals was fully guaranteed from local livestock. The government anticipates a 10% growth in demand this year from the 1.6 million sacrificed in 1443 (2021).

Nasrullah added 2.3 million tails prepared for sacrificial worship consist of 882,266 cows, 27,179 buffaloes, 952,390 goats and 408,025 sheep. Eid al Adha falls on 9 July in Indonesia.

Health issue

However, he admitted this year’s festival was challenging. For the first time since 1990, Indonesia is not included in the World Organisation for Animal Health or OIE’s member list recognised as free from foot and mouth disease (FMD) where vaccination is not practiced.

The disease has affected as many as 236,229 tails across 19 provinces and 216 cities or regencies with a recovery rate of only 32.8%. Nasrullah said the government has initiated steps to ensure the health and safety of both livestock and humans.

Among the measures are the allocation of 29 million state-funded vaccine doses; allocation of medicine and disinfectant and compensation for animals lost to FMD. The move is expected to cost 4.4 trillion rupiah ($297.5 million) and is currently being finalised by the finance ministry. 

“We will tighten the livestock traffic between the regions and won’t transfer infected livestock … to keep as much of the regions as possible free from FMD,” Nasrullah added. 

The agricultural ministry estimates the economy will lose 9.9 trillion rupiah ($666.9 million) annually due to FMD. The disease affects several elements within the bovine chain including decreased milk production, sudden death (often occurs in calves), miscarriage, decreased fertility rate, weight loss and trade barriers for breeders and consumers.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Delektia reveals pipeline of 70 frozen halal meals, plans GCC foray

Dubai-based frozen foods company anticipating rapid regional expansion after obtaining GSO halal certification and establishing strong distributor network.

 

Dubai: Delektia Food, a producer of fully cooked, frozen and ready-to-heat meals, will launch more than 70 products over the next three years and expand into regional markets starting with Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Ziad Bushnaq, co-founder and managing partner at Delektia, told Salaam Gateway the Dubai-based company currently has 10 products based on Middle Eastern recipes that include vegetarian, vegan and meat-based meals.

Among the top sellers are dawood basha (meatball stew), mloukhieh with chicken (stew made with mallow leaves), lentil soup and ruz with vermicelli (rice with broken vermicelli). It will launch four products in the coming weeks including a vegan mloukhieh.

“Our Middle Eastern cuisine is naturally healthy, but nobody has taken it to this scale for retail. Bringing in traditional meals for the younger generations who are almost forgetting these dishes was appealing,” said Bushnaq.

He added most Middle Eastern cuisine in restaurants has become barbeques and appetizers and it was not easy to find “those homely meals our mothers used to make”.

Before launch, Delektia’s founders conducted three years of research that involved testing recipes of Middle Eastern households to identify the winning formulas.

“It was a combination of consulting with some of the best chefs and the numerous mothers and grandmothers. We were looking at their black books to get that right taste,” said Bushnaq.

While the focus is currently on Levantine classics, the company plans to expand into other Middle Eastern and international cuisines including traditional African, Filipino and Mexican.

Distributor-based strategy

Founded in 2021, Delektia has adopted a distributor-based, go-to-market strategy that means it can reach supermarket shelves and expand relatively swiftly. It contracted with Dubai-based Emirates Snack Foods to sell ready-to-heat meals online and in more 300 supermarkets across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.

It recently expanded to Jordan through a partnership with Amman-based FMCG distributor Medica.

“We’re focusing on the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) regions … establishing brand recognition and building solid relationships with our distributors,” said Bushnaq.

He said the company chose to keep distribution with people who best knew its operations – companies with the experience and logistical contacts to reach the right retailers.

“(They) can do a better job than us doing it directly. We work together and give them the support to launch our products – this is our strategy to enter different markets,” he said.

Delektia is now gearing up to launch in Kuwait through Nourishment LLC, a local healthy snacks distributor. Expanding internationally is also on the horizon, especially to North America and Europe where there is demand for ready-to-heat Middle Eastern meals.

Halal certification journey

A major factor facilitating Delektia’s regional expansion was securing a halal food certification from the Saudi Arabia-based GCC Standardisation Organisation (GSO), the region’s primary halal standards setting body.

“The halal certification validates our products are manufactured in a clean environment and don’t contain alcohol or impermissible meats. (They also follow) the process to make sure there’s no sharing of equipment or storage in the vicinity of impermissible materials,” said Bushnaq, adding it was not simply the ingredients, but also the cooking methods.

The company’s entire facility and its packaging must be halal certified, but the GSO certification is then accepted in several countries and recognised by the UAE’s Emirates Authority for Standards and Metrology (ESMA).

However, Delektia requires a different halal food certification from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to operate in that country. The authority must check Delektia’s facilities; a process the company is currently finalising.

“Each country has a different way of doing things, but in most cases, they accept (our) GSO certification,” said Bushnaq.

 

Ziad Bushnaq, co-founder and managing partner, said Delektia has adopted a distributor-based, go-to-market strategy that means it can reach supermarket shelves and expand relatively swiftly. (Courtesy: Delektia).

 

Long shelf-life benefits

Another crucial aspect of Delektia’s set-up phase was designing optimal packaging that can be reheated in either a microwave or the oven, while also having a one-year freezer life. Bushnaq said immediately after cooking and packaging, the product goes into a blast-freezing system at -18°C.

This quick freezing ensures the long shelf life without the need for preservatives and retains the nutrients and flavours. By contrast, a home freezer takes a day to freeze food to this temperature, during which time many of the nutrients are lost.

“Freezing equipment has evolved in the last decade and starting to change perceptions that frozen doesn’t necessarily mean preservatives. There’s no need to use preservatives to get a long shelf life thanks to blast freezing,” he said.

Globally, the frozen food market is witnessing fast growth. In the UAE the market was valued at $790.74 million in 2020 with a projected 4.9% compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2016, according to France-based market intelligence platform ReportLinker.

Fuelling the growth is an increasing demand for a year-round supply of ready-made meals given consumers’ busy and hectic lifestyles. Bushnaq also expects the availability of long-lasting controlled meal portions to help reduce food waste in homes.

Around 38% of the food prepared daily in Dubai is wasted, according to research by the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence. Decomposition emits methane gas, reportedly 25 times more damaging than CO2.

“We are bringing to the table food with a 12-month shelf life – portion-controlled, convenient and healthy. Portion control is important because it minimises food wastage,” Bushnaq concluded.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
10 million Indonesian products targeted for free halal certification this year

Less than a quarter of the target reached with half the year gone.

 

Jakarta: The Indonesian government aims to issue free halal certificates for 10 million products through the self-declared scheme in 2022, yet by the year’s mid-point, less than 1 million small medium and microenterprises (SMMEs) have joined the scheme.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) head Muhammad Aqil Irham told Salam Gateway only 867,600 SMMEs had joined the self-declared programme, around 24.1% of this year’s target.

This was significantly off target and not even close to the country’s 64 million SMMEs. He said achieving the 10 million product target this year, required participation from 3.6 million SMMEs each registering two or three products.

“The government still needs to push more to achieve this,” he said.

Various methods are being conducted to accelerate the achievement including collaboration with related ministries and institutions and conducting roadshows on halal certification knowledge-sharing in universities.

The agency continually encourages SMMEs to immediately certify their products through the self-declared scheme to increase their global competitiveness.

“Currently there are many SMMEs who still think it is not important to have halal certification. In fact, apart from being a guarantee for the community, this certification is an entry point if you want to enter global competition,” Irham added.

Another strategy is the free halal certification programme called sehati through which the government issued halal certificates to 3,200 SMMEs in 2020 and 15,000 last year. This year, from the 25,000 SMMEs targeted for halal certification, only 14,194 have registered.

In the long run, the government aims for 1 million SMMEs to be halal certified through the sehati programme.

Meanwhile, LPPOM MUI, one of BPJPH’s halal inspection agency partners, noted there are 10,643 SMMEs to date that have been inspected through them.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Newswrap: Halal industry

Hajj flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia on the cards; Egypt and Saudi Arabia announce deals worth $7.7 billion; Saudi Arabia issues tough penalties for food violations during Hajj; UK’s Halal Food Company launches new lines at Sainsbury’s supermarkets; Careem acquires UAE’s MUNCH:ON; Philippines and Bangladesh keen to bolster trade ties.

 

Hajj flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia on the cards

Ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, discussions are underway to create a deal to allow Palestinians to “fly directly” to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah, reported the Financial Times. The US is also involved in discussions to allow Israeli overflights of the kingdom and to transfer the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia announce deals worth $7.7 billion

During a visit to Egypt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 14 deals worth $7.7 billion were announced, including renewable energy, petroleum, food and fintech, reported Reuters. A $150 million deal was inked to develop a pharmaceutical city in Saudi Arabia by Egypt's Pharco Pharmaceuticals. The kingdom’s Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has also started to disperse a $3 billion credit facility extension with Egypt to finance food and energy imports, Reuters reported.

Saudi Arabia issues tough penalties for food violations during Hajj

Saudi Arabia has issued new penalties to those that offer harmful foods to Hajj pilgrims, including up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to SR10 million, reported Gulf News. Restrictions include harmful, adulterated or haram foods. Riyadh has permitted 1 million pilgrims to perform Hajj this year, down from 2.5 million prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK’s Halal Food Company launches new lines at Sainsbury’s supermarkets

The Halal Food Company has launched five new lines of read-made meals and snacks at 140 stores of retailer Sainsbury’s. Some 4.2 million people follow a halal diet in the UK, reported Kam City.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of five certified, premium prepared chilled meals to the UK retail market, through our partnership with Sainsbury’s. Our range is produced in our Grade A BRC kitchens in Ireland and we look forward to launching further products in the months ahead,” said Gary Docherty, Managing Director of Halal Food Company.

Careem acquires UAE’s MUNCH:ON

Careem, a leading multi-service platform in the Middle East, has acquired app MUNCH:ON in the UAE. Founded in 2016, MUNCH:ON is a subscription-based food delivery platform which connects customers to meals at a discount by tapping into under-utilised kitchen capacity and using scheduling, bundling and routing software. The solution drives massive efficiencies for restaurants and cloud kitchens and has built scale in the corporate lunch segment, according to a press release. MUNCH:ON will stop daily operations and the offering will be rebuilt on the Careem app. In the UAE, the Careem Super App offers more than a dozen services including ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, micro-mobility, payments, and partner services including car rental, home cleaning and PCR testing. Careem Food serves millions of customers with access to over 18,000 restaurants in eight core cities across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar.

Philippines and Bangladesh keen to bolster trade ties

The Philippines and Bangladesh, which have had diplomatic ties for 50 years, are keen to bolster trade in food and pharmaceuticals. The Bangladesh Embassy Counsellor Sayma Razzaki said that pharmaceutical was a particular area in which the country could bolster exports to Philippines, with 97% of production currently for the domestic market and the rest exported to some 100 countries.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Manila F.M. Borhan Uddin said the countries should “explore opportunities in healthcare services, medical equipment, information technology, garments, shipbuilding, and tourism among others,” reported the PNA. In 2021, bilateral trade was $110 million, up on $75 million prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Halal Industry
India-Gulf trade fears over Islamophobic comments

Conflict reflects long-term diplomatic concerns for Indian exporters.

 

New Delhi: A campaign to boycott Indian products in Islamic countries because of anti-Muslim comments made by leaders of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have temporarily died down, but given the country’s continuing Hindu-Muslim tensions, the risk of future supply disruption remains, warn economists.

“Considering the political situation in India, there is a great possibility that another Islamophobic (comment) could come from the ruling party or its supporters, then once again there … could be a public backlash against Indian products,” Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at the Centre of Policy Research, in New Delhi, told Salaam Gateway.

The recent row followed comments made in May by Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokesperson, during a television debate and subsequent tweet in June by Naveen Kumar Jindal, another BJP spokesperson, about Prophet Mohammad that stoked anger across the Islamic world with calls to boycott of Indian products.

While both officials were suspended from the party, concerns about potential losses to Indian food exports to Muslim countries remain, should similar controversies erupt again linked to the BJP.

The ruling party advocates Hindutva (Hindu-ness), effectively defining Indian culture in terms of Hindu values. Party members have criticised the secular traditions of the country’s other main national party Indian National Congress that has been seen as more accommodating to India’s 210 million Muslims.

The recent row has already damaged Indian trade and diplomatic relations. After a sustained social media campaign against India, a Kuwaiti supermarket pulled Indian products from its shelves and Qatar demanded an apology from India for the Islamophobic comments.

At least 17 other Islamic countries and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation condemned the remarks.

Worries during the recent row have focused especially on rice, buffalo meat, spices, marine products, fruits, vegetables and sugar, India’s largest agricultural exports to the six wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

These sales had been increasing steadily, according to Indian ministry of commerce and industry data. In a statement released in June last year and accounting for the financial year ending 31 March, the ministry said India’s exports of non-basmati rice to GCC countries grew 26.01%, while spice exports grew 52.39% and sugar 50.88%.

Produced in the northern Indian state, 2,700 tons of basmati rice was shipped to the GCC. Iran and Iraq also rank among the key customers, accounting for more than $2.5 billion in receipts, according to the ministry.

The Indian government is trying to expand export sales to the GCC by promoting other unique Indian products like saffron and dry fruits from Kashmir and targeting Saudi Arabian fast moving consumer goods retailer LuLu Group International, the ministry said.

The media statement added that, while COVID-19 had severely affected India’s export of livestock products and marine products, overall agriculture exports to GCC countries grew 7.15%.

It is these products that are vulnerable to any boycotts.

Although demand for Indian meat products in the Gulf countries is high and, until 2018 export growth was good, the sector has been facing serious challenges, said Payal Kaur Bakshi, export sales manager of the Al-Hassan Group in New Delhi.

The company sells halal and fresh food internationally.

Bakshi said a key reason for the recent difficulties has been reluctance by the importing countries’ halal regulators to visit India and certify producers and exporters as halal-compliant.

“For many years the delegations of several countries have not come to India and therefore we are not able to export to those countries. It is not clear where the problem lies,” she told Salam Gateway.

Hence, while the Al-Hassan Group has been exporting buffalo and sheep meat to the UAE and Oman, it has been unable to access other GCC markets because of a lack of approvals. This has given key competitors Brazil, Argentina and Australia a freer run.

However, she said the latest row has not worsened the situation with the company not receiving any requests to reduce or halt imports from GCC buyers or regulators.

Indian companies are also keen to secure certification to facilitate exports to Muslim-majority countries, said Waseem Akhtar, halal coordinator at Jamiat Ulama Halal Foundation, a New Delhi-based halal certifying agency.

Renewal certification numbers were constantly increasing.

India’s versatile apparel sector is also keeping an eye on trade relations with the Gulf with annual clothing and accessories exports to the region worth $2.44 billion in the financial year under discussion.

“It is basically a mid to low-segment of apparel market, largely ladies’ dresses and children’s garments,” Chandrima Chatterjee, secretary-general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry in New Delhi told Salaam Gateway, labelling the recent political tensions as a cause of worry.

Among the Gulf markets, Dubai holds a special significance for Indian garment exporters as it is a conduit to markets in Iraq, Iran and other countries in the region where financial systems are not reliable, said Chatterjee.

India exported $43.93 billion’s worth of products in the year to March 2022 to the GCC; a 58% year-on-year increase and accounting for 10.4% of India's total exports. Given this value, Singh said it would be tough for India to find a replacement if lost, particularly because of the stringent technical and medical standards western countries applied on these products.

India’s exports were already small relative to its economy with Singh adding that anything Indian companies were unable to export compounded the country’s trade and fiscal deficit.

Trading Economics data reflects the country’s trade deficit in May 2022 was an eye-watering $24.29 billion. The Controller General of Accounts (CGA) said India’s fiscal deficit hit Indian Rupees INR13.16 trillion ($168 billion) in February 2022.

Furthermore, Singh said many Indian companies struggle to maintain a diplomatic distance from the central government as the country’s corporate world was closely aligned with public authorities.

“It’s not possible for a business to function without the approval or support of the government, especially one accused of intolerance towards its critics, such as the present administration,” said Singh.

Although there are possibilities to increase south Asian exports to Bangladesh, Maldives or Sri Lanka, they cannot be a long-term solution to any loss of GCC trade.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Newswrap: Halal industry

Saudi Arabia's Almarai to invest $108 million in seafood and poultry business; UK Halal baby food producer For Aisha aims for $12.2 million turnover by 2026; South Korea’s SPC establishes $31 million joint venture with Malaysia’s Berjaya Food to target halal market; UAE bans Indian wheat exports for four months; Egypt and Vietnam to strengthen bilateral trade.

 

Saudi Arabia's Almarai to invest $108 million in seafood and poultry business

Almarai, the largest dairy company in the Middle East is set to invest $108 million in its expansion plans in the seafood sector and to shore up poultry supplies, reported The National.

In a filing to the Tadawul stock exchange, Almarai is to invest $67.2 million from operating cash flows in the seafood processing business. The company is to invest $40.8 million to “secure parent poultry birds supply to mitigate the “imminent risk” of parent stock shortages in the kingdom”. “Once further investments are deployed to secure additional parent stock supply, the parent bird facility will be utilised for hatching egg production as initially planned for poultry capacity expansion,” the company said. Such moves fit into the kingdom’s food security agenda, part of its Vision 2030. In May 2021, Almarai announced plans to invest $1.76 billion over five years to expand its poultry business in Saudi Arabia.

UK Halal baby food producer For Aisha aims for $12.2 million turnover by 2026

UK-based For Aisha has appointed three new directors and aims to have a turnover of £10 million ($12.2 million) by 2026 to cement its place as the world’s leading Halal baby food brand, reported The Business Desk. Executive chair Joy Parkinson, financial director Leighton Paul and commercial director Emelyne Bradley have joined For Aisha, with all three having worked for major brands, including Faith in Nature, Baylis & Harding, Mars, Coca-Cola and McVities. For Aisha recently secured supplier contracts in the UAE and Sinagpore and plans to enter more markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the website reported.

South Korea’s SPC establishes $31 million joint venture with Malaysia’s Berjaya Food to target halal market

Paris Croissant, a subsidiary of Paris Baguette Singapore, part of South Korea’s SPC Group, has invested $31 million to establish a joint venture with Malaysia’s Berjaya Food to target Malaysia’s halal food sector. The new venture, Berjaya Paris Baguette, will have a new food manufacturing facility in Nusajaya Tech Park, in the city of Johor Bahru, near Tanjung port, reported The Korea Herald. The 16,500-square-metre lot is slated to be completed by June 2023, and will manufacture some 100 types of pastries, cakes and sauces. Kuala Lumpur-based Berjaya Food has the franchises for Starbucks and Jollibean, among others, in Malaysia.

UAE bans Indian wheat exports for four months

The UAE has implemented a four month ban on exports and re-exports of wheat and wheat flour originating from India, reported Reuters. The UAE authorities cited disruptions to global trade flows as the reason for the ban, although clarified that Indian wheat exports to the UAE would continue for local consumption. India, the world’s second largest wheat producer, banned wheat exports on 14 May, excluding exports already secured through letters of credit. The UAE and India signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Trade Agreement (CEPA) in February, which took effect on 1 May, which aims to remove tariffs on goods and bolster trade to $100 million by 2027.

Egypt and Vietnam to strengthen bilateral trade

During a visit between the Egyptian Ambassador to Vietnam and the Vietnamese Prime Minister, the two countries called for strengthening bilateral trade to $1 billion a year, reported Voice of Vietnam. The Vietnamese emphasised increased economies ties in oil and gas, chemical, garment and agricultural cooperation. In 2020, bilateral trade was $515 million, according to General Department of Vietnam Customs data. Egypt is Vietnam’s second largest trade partner in Africa, after South Africa. The Vietnamese also called on Egypt to continue Arabic language training scholarships and to provide training on Halal food certifications standards.

Halal Industry
Sales and consumption of halal products rises in Mozambique

Halal sector benefitting from investments from Muslim regions including the UAE.

 

Maputo: The sale and consumption of halal products, including food and beauty products, in Mozambique is growing in line with the global demand for halal-certified goods, president of the Halal Commission of Mozambique (Comissão Halal de Moçambique) Maulana Ibraimo Issa told Salaam Gateway.

He said Mozambique halal traders and manufacturers were profiting from a global market Statista expects to grow from $1.4 trillion in 2017 to $2.6 trillion by 2024. While definitive halal sales data in Mozambique is not available, Issa said there was “plenty of evidence” of local market expansion. This included an increase in the number of companies seeking and securing halal certification and the south-east African country’s growing Muslim population.

According to Mozambique’s National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estatistica – INE) 20% of its 32.1 million citizens are Muslim compared to 17% in the 2007 census.

Since the commission’s creation in 2005, around 300 Mozambique businesses have been certified halal nationally and requests for halal certificates grew exponentially between 2019 and 2021 with around 100 establishments under a certification review.

“Applicants range from simple shops to shopping centres, restaurants and hotels, food and cosmetics manufacturers,” he said.

This growth was confirmed by Zeiss Lacerda, the executive secretary of the Mozambican Poultry Industry Association (Associação Moçambicana da Indústria Avícola – AIMA), in stating all the organisation’s products are halal. However, halal poultry sales had fluctuated in the past two years, affected by the global pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, sales were better, but when (COVID-19) broke out, there was a lot of demand as people feared the lockdown and made a lot of stock. Then came stagnation and now, with the easing of restrictions, the situation is returning to normality, so we expect to exceed levels prior to COVID-19,” he said.

Retailers have also noticed the general growth in Mozambique halal food sales. The manager of the Talho Versalhes butcher’s shop in the capital Maputo told Salaam Gateway the increased halal sales had triggered the decision to expand its halal-certified offerings to red meat, chicken and processed meat products.

“These all comply with the halal process,” he said.

COVID-19 has also caused uneven sales at this business, but with the Mozambiquan government easing movement restrictions, introduced in February 2020 and gradually being eased from August 2021, he said there was a growth trend.

This positive outlook has been backed up by US-based University of Arkansas researcher Alison Creasey, who concluded even when poor, Mozambique Muslims “may be willing to pay a premium for halal meat products to uphold Islamic beliefs”.

This was particularly prevalent in the more predominantly Muslim north with halal products valued for delivering safety and quality.

“Halal meat is safer than non-halal meat,” survey respondents told Creasey.

With the World Bank stating the average gross domestic product (GDP) per head in Mozambique was $448 in 2020, this willingness to pay more for halal may be an important boon for traders and manufacturers.

Many of the halal-certified products are imported, especially from neighbouring South Africa, but also the Middle East, Asia and Europe with the commission inspecting products and shops for compliance. It also offers advice to Muslim consumers wanting to buy non-certified products, including pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, without purchasing outright haram lines.

While the commission says there is no solid data, it agrees the sale of halal cosmetics in the country remains a small segment with relatively few traders selling halal-labelled personal care products such as hand and face creams.

However, there were plans to create a halal-compliant tourism sector to attract Muslim tourists to the country’s extensive sandy beaches and to see its rich wildlife and diverse culture. A Mozambique Tourism Association spokesperson said there were ongoing discussions and initiatives to create halal tourist packages, including hotels run on halal lines.

“Though it is still a challenge,” said the spokesperson.

The commission indicated regulation in Mozambique was not easy and Mozambique Muslims complained some shopping centres sold poultry as being halal when they had been mixed with products made without following halal slaughter and processing rules.

Some imported halal and non-halal chickens were brought into the country in the same packaging, causing a mix of these products among retailers. Consequently the commission has frequently appealed to consumers to be cautious when purchasing halal foods, saying a product label was no guarantee of authenticity.

“Procedures have to be followed,” said Issa.

Meanwhile, the legitimate halal sector was growing following increased investment from Muslim countries, notably the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Mozambique's Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Exports (Agência para a Promoção de Investimento e Exportações – APIEX) approved more than $1 billion’s worth of UAE investment between 2014 and 2018 with more than 20 UAE companies now investing in the country.

The agency noted UAE companies currently export lubricants, machinery and motor vehicles to Mozambique and imports ores, tobacco, aluminium, precious stones and agricultural products.

Bilateral trade was growing to now account for $700 million annually, according to APIEX.

“Such investments and trade partnerships will only boost a halal sector in this African country that is already growing sustainably,” the agency said.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Newswrap: Halal industry

Global food import bill to hit new record; Malaysia's JAKIM clarifies halal food import requirements; PIF to invest up to $3 billion in Jordan; Saudi Arabia to spend $1 billion a year on anti-aging research; Mindanao invests in halal feed mill; Iran and Nigeria strengthen ties.

 

Global food import bill to hit new record

The global food import bill is set to hit a new record of $1.8 trillion this year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Outlook report. While the food bill is to be higher, due to higher prices and transport costs volumes will be less.

“Worryingly, many vulnerable countries are paying more but receiving less food,” states the report.

The global food import bill is projected to rise by $51 billion from 2021, of which $49 billion reflects higher prices.

“In view of the soaring input prices, concerns about the weather, and increased market uncertainties stemming from the war in Ukraine, FAO’s latest forecasts point to a likely tightening of food markets and food import bills reaching a new record high,” said FAO economist Upali Galketi Aratchilage in UN News.

Animal fats and vegetable oils will be the single biggest contributor to higher import bills this year, “although cereals are not far behind for developed countries”, he said. “Developing countries, as a whole, are reducing imports of cereals, oilseeds and meat, which reflects their incapacity to cover the increase in prices.”

Sub-Saharan African countries and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries are expected to have an increase in total costs. “These are alarming signs from a food security perspective,” said FAO. The organisation also warned “importers will find it difficult to finance rising international costs”, and “that these could, potentially, break them”.

Malaysia's JAKIM clarifies halal food import requirements

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia’s (JAKIM) Malaysia Halal Council Secretariat has clarified that despite the removal of the approved permit or import quota on certain food items announced by the government in May to ensure food supply, halal food is subject to requirements, reported The Star. Halal food has to comply with Paragraph 4 and 5 of the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking of Halal) Order 2011 or be certified by a foreign halal certification body recognised by JAKIM. “To ensure the halal status of imported food, Jakim has recognised 84 foreign halal certification bodies from 46 countries around the world,” the secretariat said in a statement to Bernama. “They are responsible for overseeing and controlling the implementation of the halal system in abattoirs approved to export meat to Malaysia and industries that export their products into the country.”

In other news, the Acting High Commissioner of Malaysia to Pakistan, Deddy Faisal Ahmad Salleh, told the Associated Press that Malaysia has set a target of RM 56 billion ($12.6 bn) for halal food exports by 2025. The country currently exports RM 35.8 billion ($8.1 bn).

Saudi Arabia to spend $1 billion a year on anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia has established the Hevolution Foundation, a non-profit organisation, to support basic research on the biology of aging and to extend people’s lifespans in good health, reported the MIT Technology Review. The foundation is to spend up to $1 billion a year with grants for research on what causes aging, and to support drug studies and trials.

The fund is managed by Mehmood Khan, a former Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the onetime chief scientist at PespsiCo. “Our primary goal is to extend the period of healthy lifespan,” Khan said in an interview, quoted by MIT. "There is not a bigger medical problem on the planet than this one.”

Saudi Arabia does not have an issue with an ageing population, with the median age around 31 years old. However, there is a rise in rates of obesity and diabetes.

PIF to invest up to $3 billion in Jordan

PIF, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, is to invest $3 billion in Jordan through the Saudi Jordanian Fund, reported Bloomberg. The fund is to invest $400 million in a new 300-bed hospital in Amman, to be developed in partnership with California’s UCLA Health and University College London’s medical school. It is slated to create more than 5,000 jobs. The fund is also planning to invest in infrastructure projects, healthcare, and tourism as well as financially support Jordanian firms involved in food and agriculture, energy and pharmaceuticals. The fund took a $185 million stake in the Capital Bank of Jordan to enable the bank to expand in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Iran and Nigeria strengthen ties

During a Joint Economic Committee held in Tehran, Iran and Nigeria signed eight memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for cooperation, including culture, tourism, oil, agriculture, sports, and trade, reported the Tehran Times.

Bilateral trade has increased from $5 million in 2019 to $18 million in 2020, and to more than $130 million in 2021, according to Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry data. The agreements are expected to bolster ties further, with Nigeria Iran’s third-largest trading partner in Africa. The lack of direct transportation links has stymied bilateral ties but a Tehran-Abuja flight is slated to start this year, while the establishment of a shipping line between the two was also discussed.

Mindanao invests in halal feed mill

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is investing Peso 1.99 million ($37,689) to build a small-scale halal feed mill, the Philippine News Agency reported. The project is to provide halal feeds to promote halal-certified poultry and fish production areas on the southern Filipino island, with the facility to store 500-600 feed sacks. “We proposed this project to ensure that we can provide and maintain halal compliant products starting from farm to plate,” said Engineer Saidona Lawam, a senior agriculturist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR).


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