Brothers Riduan and Mohamed el Mourabit launched Little Maryam following the birth of Mohamed's son (Courtesy Little Maryam).

Halal Industry

Halal baby food brand Little Maryam taps into unmet demand

Dutch brothers launch first organic and halal baby food line in the Benelux.


Breda: In late 2021, halal baby food brand Little Maryam hit the shelves of 137 stores of Albert Heijn, the leading supermarket chain in Belgium and the Netherlands. Launched by brothers Mohamed and Riduan el Mourabit, Little Maryam is both halal certified and organic.

“Three years ago my son was born,” said Mohamed el Mourabit by video link from Veenendaal, a small town in the heart of the Netherlands. “As he grew older, we started making him food. But sometimes, after a busy day at work or on holiday, it is just easier to have something ready-made. It was then [that] I discovered that the shops did not offer any halal baby food.”

The two brothers discussed the idea of launching a baby food line. “I was aware of the growing trend of halal food in Dutch stores and immediately thought it was a golden opportunity,” said Riduan.

The idea was only the start of a journey that started in early 2020 and saw the Mourabit brothers spend their evenings and weekends at the kitchen table drawing up plans and tasting every possible brand of baby food on the market. They were not impressed.

“I’m convinced that when parents taste some of the baby food on the market they will ask themselves: “How on earth can I offer this to my child?” said Mohamed.

The brothers, who both have an administrative job, soon found there were no producers of halal baby food based in the European Union. “There is one major player in England and another one in Morocco,” said Riduan.

Founded in 2014 in Nottingham, For Aisha is arguably the world’s biggest halal baby food producer. The British brand illustrates the immense potential for halal baby food.

For Aisha is sold in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, France and the United Arab Emirates. In November, 2021, the brand received a £400,000 ($540,105) cash injection from the Midland Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) to further expand.  

Moroccan firm Agro-Food Industry (AFI) produces the halal baby food brand Vitameal. While it has a new factory in-line with EU standards, the brand is not yet available on European supermarket shelves.

After assessing the competition, the next step for the Mourabits was to “develop the tastes and decide how to position ourselves in the market in terms of name, logo and colours,” said Mohamed.

They decided upon bright images that showed the whole meal on the packaging. For most baby food it is common to show only the ingredients.

Little Maryam was launched last November in five combinations of vegetables, lasagna, risotto, chicken and beef.

“So far, the feedback has been great,” said Mohamed. “A lot of people told us: ‘Finally baby food that tastes good. And that is at least partly due to us using organic ingredients.”

Little Maryam is the world’s first baby food that is both halal and organically certified, according to the brothers. They add that there is growing demand for healthy food that contains less pesticides, while many consumers want to see farm animals have a better life.

With the launch of their “baby,” 2021 ended well for the Mourabit brothers, and they have further plans for the brand.

“By the end of February Little Maryam will be on the shelves of another big Dutch supermarket chain,” said Riduan. “And by the end of the year it will also be sold by a major drugstore chain. Internationally, we already sell in Belgium. Germany would be a logical next step. But in the end we want to be in any country offering us a chance, be it Malaysia or the UAE.”

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