According to Konstantin Korneev, executive director of consulting company Rincon Management, halal products already account for at least 10% of the total beef and mutton market in Russia. “Over the past three years, sales of halal meat in Russia have risen three-fold. Now, all the major Russian producers of meat and meat products are trying to obtain certification to produce these types of product and include them in their ranges,” he said.
“The niche halal sector is quickly transforming into an important market segment,” said Albert Davleev, head of the Russian department of the US Poultry and Eggs Export Council (USAPEEC). “So far, according to data in Russia, the halal sector produces about 1.3 million tonnes (mt) of poultry meat, beef, mutton and other meat products, but only 0.5mt of them are certified and labelled accordingly.”
He added that USAPEEC had already identified a number of businesses that were 100% focused on halal products. In the next two or three years, Russian production of halal meat will rise to 1.5mt, he predicted. At the same time imports of halal products are quite low.
An important factor in the development of the halal meat market, noted experts, was the fact that these products had a very high reputation across all categories of consumers. According to a number of market research studies, only 25% of halal products in Russia are consumed by Muslims. Opinion polls conducted among consumers across the board in late 2013 showed they associated “halal” meat as being produced in accordance with strict quality standards.
“One of the main conditions for the production of halal products is that they must be exceptionally clean [from biological substances and additives]. So in many countries, including Russia, halal products are not perceived as a religious product, but as a product of higher quality in terms of production, processing and storage,” said Davleev.
However, Marat Nizams, chairman of the committee on halal standards with the Muslim Spiritual Administration of the Republic of Tatarstan, said there were still a number of problems hampering the development of the halal meat industry. The most serious of these was a lack of specialists, who were familiar with all aspects of the production process for this type of meat.