Consumer demand for Halal and Kosher-based dairy ingredients is on the rise globally, but demands not only demands careful evaluation of ingredients, but also strict regulation of product packaging, production processes and facilities.
That’s according to North German firm WS Warmsener Spezialitäten (turnover circa. €35m: 2010) which gained Kosher certification for the supply of dairy products – cream and yogurt products – and Halal certification for sweetened condensed milk late last year.
For instance, Kosher ‘kashrut’ certification demands that dairy foods must come from a kosher animal, must not contain non-kosher additives (such as cheeses with animal rennet) or meat products or derivatives.
WS Warmsener sales and marketing manager, Renate Wortmeyer explained that Kosher certifications were performed by specially trained rabbies, while for Halal certification there were several institutions. "When choosing a certification institute it is necessary to look for a highly international reputation, so that the certification will lead to the desired advantage in terms of market competition," she told DairyReporter.com.
Dairy-free cream developed
WS Warmsener supplies lactose-free dairy products based on native starch, and is also able to substitute gelatin wherever it was used in yogurt and cream products. Recipes for yogurt, cream, sauces and delicatessan products are developed according to customer specifications, and a recent development includes a Kosher dairy-free cream made with vegetable fat.
"Compared with cream this product has a particularly high volume after whipping, an extremely long shelf life and in a whipped condition a special stability," Wortmeyer said.
Discussing strict regulations governing processing and packaging, she added: “Technical alcohol, for example, which is used as an ingredient in the multi-layer bag-in-box packaging, proved to be a major obstacle for halal certification.”
As a result, she said that the firm had had to find new suppliers whose products met these requirements, while, in addition, “the cleaning procedures for WS Warnsener Spezialitäten’s machines and facilities and the acids and bases used for cleaning are just as important”.
Large market opportunity
Asked how quickly the market for Kosher and Halal certified ingredients was growing, Wortmeyer said that over the past few years her company had seen increasing numbers of enquiries from pastry, confectionery and delicatessen clients.
Discussing market opportunities, she said that, according to German newspaper Islamische Zeitung, 80% of around four million Muslims in the country had a high regard for Halal food, while around 18m Jews worldwide adhered to religious rules for the preparation of food and beverages, with France a particularly large Halal market.
“The turnover of products conforming with Islamic laws totals about €15bn in the EU,” she added.
Asked whether prices for halal/kosher ingredients were more expensive, Wortmeyer said that the firm manufactured products based on customer-specific recipes.
She said: “Depending on the production quantity and the ingredients, the halal and kosher certification can have an effect on the price. This depends on the recipe and the different ingredients, for example in the case of caramelised, sweetened condensed milk which can be produced without the addition of caramel.“
'Trendy' confectionery and pastries
Sweetened condensed milk (WS Warmsener’s production line is pictured) with varying fat content levels was a “basic ingredient for trendy confectionery and pastries”, she explained.
Asked what percentage of WS Warmsener’s ingredients sales came from Halal/Kosher based products, and whether she predicted that this share would grow, Wortmeyer said the firm had only entered the market after gaining halal and kosher product certification at the end of 2011.
Since then WS Warmsener had informed European, Asian and Russian customers about its new products range, while distribution partners in foreign markets were targeting new consumers, she added.
“The [Halal, Kosher] sales volume will certainly increase considerably in the next one or two years. Warmsener is currently also setting up new distribution partnerships especially in Japan, Russia and the Arabic World. Quality certifications on the highest international level are an essential part in this.”