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4 Reasons the Halal Food Industry is Booming



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By Widya Herminingsih

Global spend by Muslim consumers is projected to reach US$2.4 trillion by 2024 — US$1.38 trillion of which is forecast to be spent on the halal food industry

Muslim consumers had a global presence of 1.9 billion people in 2020, making them one of the fast-growing conusmer segments in the world. It is estimated that there will be 2 billion practicing Muslims by 2030 and 3 billion by 2060, which will be equal to around 30% of the global population.

The Islamic economy comprises seven sectors — Islamic finance, halal food, modest fashion, media and recreation, Muslim-friendly travel, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics — with halal food being the second biggest sector (after Islamic finance) with a US$1.27 trillion spend by Muslim consumers in 2021. This is projected to hit US$1.6 trillion by 2025.

Halal foods must not contain pork, alcohol or intoxicants, harmful ingredients, unsanitary elements and poisons. Meat must be slaughtered according to methods prescribed under Islamic law known as Zabihah.

Global product launches with halal claims jumped by 19% from 2018 to 2020, from 16,936 products to 20,482. Sixty-three percent of these came from Asia, followed by Africa and the Middle East, both of which were in the low double digits (14% and 10%, respectively). Malaysia retains its top spot in the overall Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI) for the ninth consecutive year. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Turkey round out the top five nations.

According to’s 2023 report, Muslims from Asia Pacific make up most of the global Muslim population and consume up to 90% of halal foods and beverages. The highest demand is for halal meat, poultry and seafood products, which constitute almost 50% of total global market sales. The report also identified halal confectionery, bakery and related products as the fastest growing segment with a forecasted growth of 9% CAGR.

Big players in the food industry are beginning to take notice of the booming halal food sector. In 2019, Japanese seasoning company Ajinomoto invested US$85 million to build a new halal production line on a 49-acre site in Malaysia, which opened in 2022. In December 2020, Fraser & Neave Holdings (F&N) acquired Malaysian companies Sri Nona Food Industries, Sri Nona Industries and Lee Shun Hing Sauce for US$14.5 million. These investments and acquisitions are aimed at expanding halal food product offerings and meeting rising local and global market demand.

Developments in the halal food industry mark the beginning expansion of a potentially huge market, fueled by a large, fast-growing and young Muslim population across Muslim-majority countries who are looking for products and services aligned with their Islamic way of life. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 60% of this population is under 30 years old.

Halal assurance is key to capturing consumer interest

Halal means permitted, allowed, authorised or lawful, according to Islamic Sharia Law, and halal food refers to food that adheres to this law. By contrast, haram means forbidden or unlawful, and haram foods are not to be consumed. Attaining halal certification is not only about using halal raw materials or products and Islamic slaughter methods. The halal assurance system is an integrated management system that encompasses all processes including product development, purchasing, production, quality control and warehousing.

A 2021 halal food lifestyle study conducted by Mastercard-CrescentRating in Singapore revealed that Muslim consumers in the country have the greatest trust of halal assurance in establishments that have halal certification, a Muslim-friendly rating, the halal logo in Arabic or indications of ingredients suitable for Muslims.

A case study in Indonesia reaffirms these findings. At first launch, Korean instant noodle brand Samyang did not have a clear label calling out its pork content on its packaging. Public outrage led to the product being pulled off the shelfs, affecting total sales and consumer trust. The company was quick to turn the situation around by immediately reformulating its recipe and getting the product halal certified by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). That, along with the MUI halal logo on the packaging, helped win back consumer trust.

National halal regulations will drive halal certification and global trade

To meet market needs and further strengthen consumer trust in halal products, countries in the region are adjusting their Islamic economy strategies. For example, Indonesia — which has the largest Muslim population in the world at 207 million people — introduced the Halal Product Law in 2019, where all consumer products and related services that enter and are traded in the country must be halal-certified. There are exceptions to the law, such as the allowance of haram products including alcohol, pork or pork by-products, blood and meat not slaughtered according to Islamic method.

The introduction of this mandatory law has given the government better control and management of Indonesia’s production and trade, such as the integrated halal product codification and trade data system by the end of 2021 which aims to improve traceability and halal logistics to strengthen consumer trust. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom extended its mandatory halal certification in 2019 to also cover imported chilled and frozen foods, confectionery, long shelf-life products, milk and other dairy products and oils and fats.

In October 2021, Pakistan, the country with the second largest Muslim population in the world, approved new mandates for the Pakistan Halal Authority to promote halal products locally and internationally as a move to enter the global halal market.

Even countries outside of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are picking up on the trend, with Singapore, the Philippines and South Korea setting up agreements with OIC countries to explore various partnerships on the import and export of halal products and related services. In the UK, M&S Food launched its own range of Western cuisine halal ready meals.

Opportunity for halal food-related apps, cloud kitchens and new product categories

COVID-19 disrupted the halal food supply chain, but it also opened up various new opportunities in the space, First, there is growing urgency for countries to be self-sufficient and develop local and regional production which can address food security and supply chain concerns as well as encourage the growth and innovation of the local halal food industry.

Then, there is the rapid digital transformation brought on by Muslim consumers looking for healthy, flavourful and convenient meals that can be delivered. Grocery e-commerce and home deliveries spiked, opening up avenues in halal food and grocery delivery, including halal cloud or ghost kitchens. Jumping on this opportunity is Turkish on-demand delivery service Getir. The company raised US$129 million in Series B funding, US$300 million in Series C funding and US$555 million in series D funding in 2021 to help the company expand further into Paris, Berlin and select cities in the United States. There’s also great interest in halal-food related apps. For example, delivery startup Jahez in Saudi Arabia raised US$36 million for its commission-free halal food ordering website, DeliverDXB, which launched in Dubai March of 2020.

Halal-certified plant-based meat and milk are also experiencing a boom. In UAE, food manufacturer Al Islami Foods expanded its portfolio by introducing a preservative-free plant-based beef burger and frozen paratha (flatbread) in 2021. Closer to home, Nestlé opened its pioneer plant-based manufacturing facility in Selangor, Malaysia, in 2021 to cater to the retail and foodservice sectors under its Harvest Gourmet brand. Alcohol-free drinks, which recorded a global 32% increase in new product development between 2018 and 2019, is another area of opportunity. In APMEA, the low- or no-alcohol beverage market has a projected growth rate of 7% from 2019 to 2025. The trend in the region is driven by health and government regulations, and growth is primarily seen in beer, with the non-alcohol beer market expected to increase by 18.9% between 2014 and 2024.

Adding the natural taste of botanicals—without the presence of alcohol—has long been a challenge for beverage brands. Ethanol has traditionally been used in combination with water for botanical extraction, and although it is removed via distillation later, around 0.5% ethanol remains in the final extract.

New technological advancements, such as those used in Simply Nature™ Botanicals, allow for the use of only water (Collection Zero) and vinegar (Collection Zero 2.0) as solvents. These have great solubility and 0% ethanol, making them suitable for inclusion in products with halal and kosher certification. In addition, using vinegar as a solvent creates a clean label without preservatives and is a cost-effective method to bring out very intense aromatic profiles.

Botanical sources of flavour have great potential with more yet to be explored and these innovations will help brands break the perception that alcohol-free beverages lack taste. While Collection Zero focuses on fresh aromatic profiles, Collection Zero 2.0 delivers complex aromatic profiles. Both offer single distillates such as rosebud, passion fruit, coffee and turmeric, as well as fusion distillates which can be tailored to suit specific local and regional tastes.

Halal food appeals to non-Muslim consumers

The rise of the ethical consumer has attracted even non-Muslim consumers to halal brands and products, as factors such as diseases and food security concerns drive demand for healthier options.

Because of the stringent regulations in attaining halal certification, halal cuisine has evolved from being a religious dietary choice to an assurance of safe, healthy, hygienic and reliable food. Various research studies indicate that non-Muslims have a positive perception of halal food products and show significant intentions to buy them as they know halal food is appropriately processed.

These market studies and sentiments are further reflected on-ground as having universal appeal. According to the 2021/2022 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report by DinarStandard, many of the Islamic values are gaining momentum outside the Muslim world, with non-Muslim consumers also patronising halal products and services. Thanks to increasing consumer awareness, halal products, services, and brands are becoming more relevant to non-Muslim consumers due to the rise of ethical consumerism that mirror similar values with those of halal products. The move to adopt uniform halal standards across OIC countries will allow them the opportunity to raise the standard of halal food and further strengthen the perception and market share of halal products in the global food trade. Additionally, investments in the Islamic economic sectors across both OIC and non-OIC markets grew by 118%, from US$118 billion in 2019 to 2020 to US$25.7 billion in 2020 to 2021, of which 15.5% came from the halal food sector, signaling that the industry remains robust and thriving.

Courtesy: Kerry Digest

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Muslim-Friendly Tourism is the Next Big Opportunity for Malaysia




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Global Muslim-friendly tourism is projected to contribute significantly to international tourism, with an estimated 230 million Muslim travelers expected to spend around $225 billion by 2028. Recognizing this immense potential, many popular destinations are introducing innovative offerings to attract Muslim tourists. Malaysia, already a preferred destination, stands to benefit greatly from this trend, provided it capitalizes on the opportunity and addresses rising competition from neighboring countries.

Muslim tourists currently make up about 20% of Malaysia’s total tourist arrivals, contributing approximately RM14.7 billion to the local economy in 2023. However, countries like Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand are aggressively promoting their Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality (MFTH) products and services, posing a competitive challenge for Malaysia.

In response to the increasing competition and to tap into the vast potential of Muslim tourists, the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC), is enhancing its efforts to strengthen Malaysia’s position as a top Muslim-friendly destination. ITC has introduced the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition (MFAR) and the Muslim-Friendly Tourist Guide (MFTG) programs to ensure the quality of products and services, boost tourist confidence, and open new market opportunities.

Launched in 2019, MFAR is the first government-backed recognition for businesses offering Muslim-friendly services in various areas such as tourist accommodations, spas, medical facilities, travel management, transportation hubs, shopping centers, and entertainment parks. ITC sees these standards as essential for attracting Muslim travelers and enhancing their experience in Malaysia.

Nizran Noordin, ITC director-general, stated, “Just like how Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia’s (JAKIM) halal certification has been helpful for Muslims in their decision-making regarding food and consumer goods, MFAR aims to provide the same recognition for tourism products and services.” The goal is to optimize tourists’ satisfaction and experience, enabling them to explore Malaysia’s cultural and natural attractions confidently.

The MFAR program not only assures the quality of Muslim-friendly services but also serves as a marketing tool to communicate the availability of amenities such as prayer facilities, halal food, and water for ablution. While emphasizing Muslim-friendly tourism, MFAR recognition does not exclude non-Muslim patrons, ensuring inclusivity.

The MFTG program recognizes MOTAC-licensed tourist guides who have completed ITC’s training and passed assessments on understanding the Muslim tourist market. This initiative aims to enhance the quality of services provided to Muslim tourists.

Malaysia has consistently topped the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) since its inception in 2015. In 2023, Malaysia was named “Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year” and “Muslim Women-Friendly Destination of the Year” at the Halal in Travel Awards. These accolades highlight Malaysia’s strong transport infrastructure, communication proficiency, ease of entry for travelers, safety, extensive halal dining options, and the availability of prayer places and Muslim-friendly accommodations.

With the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year 2026, the country targets 35.6 million tourist arrivals and RM147.1 billion in receipts. MOTAC aims to position Malaysia as an Umrah hub for Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, further increasing Muslim tourist arrivals. Nizran Noordin emphasized that the growth of the Muslim tourist market could sustain various sectors such as banking, finance, and insurance through offerings like payment gateways, digital wallets, and travel insurance tailored for Muslim tourists.

To facilitate the application for MFAR recognition, ITC has developed a rating system where businesses can achieve silver, gold, or platinum recognition based on their level of commitment and compliance with the guidelines. Nizran Noordin expressed hope that industry players will adopt these recognitions to provide greater assurance to Muslim tourists, especially as Malaysia prepares to become an Umrah hub.

The potential for Muslim-friendly tourism in Malaysia is immense. By leveraging strategic initiatives and addressing competitive challenges, Malaysia can solidify its position as a leading destination for Muslim travelers, driving economic growth and enhancing its global standing. For the latest updates on Malaysia’s tourism initiatives, follow official announcements from the Islamic Tourism Centre and MOTAC.

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Pilgrims Remain Bedrock of Saudi Tourism Plans




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By Andrew Hammond

Saudi tourism is to undergo a massive expansion with religious travellers remaining its bedrock – but some hotel operators are wary of an overheated market.

The kingdom is aiming to bring in 150 million visitors per year by 2030, with tourism accounting for 10 percent of non-oil GDP, playing a key role in its economic transformation plan valued at $1.25 trillion.

The Saudi Tourism Authority displayed the country’s offerings – from the futuristic luxury resorts in Neom, to wellness holidays in AlUla and mountain climbing in Aseer – at this year’s Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. 

The plans include an additional 320,000 hotel rooms by 2030 according to property consultant Knight Frank, with more than half of them expected to be in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

“Knight Frank’s analysis of hotel supply in Mecca and Medina reveals a significant figure of 221,000 hotel rooms announced, planned or under construction,” said the consultancy. Super-rich Muslims are also seeking homes there. It added that of the 320,000 extra hotel rooms, 251,500 will be in the luxury and upscale brackets, raising the share of high-end hotels from 66 to 72 percent of the total.

The high percentage of religious tourism is telling. As the location of the annual Hajj pilgrimage and the year-round pilgrimage known as Umrah, Saudi Arabia can be sure to attract a solid base of these visitors who still account for nearly 50 percent of tourism.

Pilgrimage tour and hotel operators say the opening up of the visa system since 2019 and the end of restrictions on businesses requiring a local partner have revolutionised the sector.

“The strategy for 2030 means they need pilgrims from everywhere,” said Ahmed Saber, CEO of Indonesia-based Diar Al Manasik International.

“Before it was difficult to get the visa, difficult to get the package. But now it’s easy, you can go online.

“Businesses used to need a Saudi partner but now you can bring your company from outside and start business (registering) with the government,” he said, adding he had set up new offices in nine countries over the past year offering pilgrim tours.

Earlier this year the government began offering visas on arrival for pilgrims who are resident in the EU, US and UK or who possess a valid visa for those countries. Nationals of Australia, Canada, China, Malaysia, Norway, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey can receive an Umrah visa on arrival.

The Saudi market is so frenzied that few hoteliers seem to worry about cannibalisation amid the plethora of projects underway.

Red Sea Global, a key tourism-focused giga-project, says it will have 79 hotels by 2030. Neom is to host at least 12 resorts. Even cutting edge mall projects like Cenomi Central’s Jawharat Riyadh, which is due to open in 2027, will contain hotels.

Mandarin Oriental, which has only one luxury hotel in Riyadh among a number across the Gulf, is taking a cautious approach in contrast to some brands.

“Whilst we want to expand in Saudi Arabia, we are probably not on that progressive trajectory like some other luxury players,” said Michael Koth, general manager of the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental in Abu Dhabi.

“I dont think on a global scale it’s the only country one wants to invest in, but it’s one of the countries one needs to invest in. Other luxury operators have chosen to do it differently.”

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HLISB Introduces BizHalal To Support SMEs in the Global Halal Market




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In a significant move to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) navigating the lucrative global Halal market, Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) has introduced BizHalal. This innovative, Shariah-compliant banking solution is designed to provide both financial support and Halal advisory services, aligning with Malaysia’s strategic vision to expand its Halal ecosystem.

What is BizHalal?

BizHalal is more than just a financial product; it’s a partnership between HLISB and the Halal Development Corporation (HDC), solidified through a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This collaboration underscores HLISB’s dedication to fostering growth and development within the Halal industry.

Strategic Goals and Historical Context

HLISB CEO, Dafinah Ahmed Hilmi, reflected on the bank’s ongoing commitment to the Halal sector since 2018 and expressed enthusiasm about how BizHalal will further stimulate the expansion of local Halal SMEs. The service package includes tailored financing solutions and expert advisory services, ensuring businesses are well-equipped to thrive in this dynamic market.

Market Potential and Economic Impact

The global Halal market, valued at USD 3 trillion in 2020, continues to grow, with projections placing Malaysia’s Halal industry at US$113.2 billion by 2030. Despite this potential, a gap remains between the market demand and supply, highlighting the critical need for increased investment and collaboration to tap into this burgeoning sector.

Partnership Impact

HDC Chairman, Khairul Azwan Harun, emphasized the importance of strategic partnerships like that of HLISB and HDC in closing the market gap and cultivating local Halal champions. These collaborations are pivotal in ensuring the sustainability and global competitiveness of Malaysia’s Halal SMEs.

Technological Integration

Acknowledging the role of technology, HDC has introduced the Halal Integrated Platform (HIP), which simplifies the certification process and enhances the operational efficiency of Malaysia’s Halal ecosystem. This digital approach not only streamlines operations but also broadens the accessibility of Halal certification for SMEs.

Support and Advisory Services

Under BizHalal, HLISB’s Halal Industry Specialists provide comprehensive support to customers. This includes a readiness assessment, advisory assistance, and integration into the Halal Digital Ecosystem. These services are crucial for both existing Halal-certified businesses and new entrants aspiring to obtain certification.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

BizHalal is accessible to all HLISB customers, supporting both current Halal-certified businesses and those seeking to achieve certification. Additionally, customers who avail of HLISB’s business financing facilities will automatically qualify for the BizHalal program, making it easier for SMEs to join and benefit from this initiative.

With the introduction of BizHalal, HLISB reaffirms its commitment to supporting the growth of SMEs in the global Halal market. This initiative not only aligns with Malaysia’s economic goals but also serves as a catalyst for the development of a robust, sustainable Halal ecosystem that can lead on the international stage.

This rewrite not only incorporates the key phrase “HLISB Introduces BizHalal To Support SMEs in the Global Halal Market” effectively for SEO but also enhances the article’s relevance and informative nature, making it more engaging for readers interested in Islamic finance and the Halal industry.

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