HFCE data shows there are more than 1.6 billion Muslim consumers globally, and “the majority of them are committed to consuming products that are certified to be Halal.” There are about 50 million Muslims living in Europe (excluding Turkey).
“The halal flavours and ingredients sector holds tremendous opportunities,” Zeshan Mohamad Sadek, director of the HFCE, told FoodNavigator.com.
EU food and beverage firms have been injecting capital into NPD (new product development) and pushing innovation in formulations to align their products, ingredients and flavours to halal standards, Sadek said, and this is a trend set to continue.
The HFCE noted that Muslim consumers will always prefer a halal-certified product over one that is not certified.
“We work with major industry firms in developing new products suited to the halal market, including DSM and Danisco as well as flavour companies such as IFF and Givaudan,” he added.
Estimates for the size of Europe’s halal market vary significantly, from between €10bn (from the director of the HFCE) right through to €50bn (from trade show organiser EuroHalalMarket). It is however, significantly larger than the US market.
France alone is pegged at around €5.7bn in a 2011 report by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and is highlighted as a key market within the EU.
One fact that is not disputed however is the growth potential of the EU halal market.
It is a market “growing upwards”, Sadek said, with tremendous prospects driven by an ever-increasing Muslim population and demand for halal foods.
“Consumers want products that are pure and healthy,” he said, and, “the main concern for Muslim consumers is that products are free from pork and alcohol.”
Halal traceability, a key market issue raised at the Brussels conference last week is extremely important, he said.
While France represents a key market within the EU, real opportunities for manufacturers lie in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, and Gulf and Middle-Eastern countries, Sadek said.
Nielsen data suggests that Indonesia is a strong market within Southeast Asia and Lisa Mabe, founder and principle of Hewar Social Communications, and expert on the Muslim market, agreed and noted that Indonesia is“positioning itself as a leader in the halal certification space.”