Food and agri-business research specialist Farrelly and Mitchell released the study, which puts the UAE’s halal import bill at US$20bn—some 40% of the GCC’s total.
It found the UAE is home to 5,000 importers, manufacturers and stockists of halal products, with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), the country’s standards authority, expecting to issue 18,000 halal certifications this year.
These developments are a direct result of the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler, who declared his intention to transform the emirate into the global capital of Islamic Economy in 2013, the report added.
Subsequently, the government created Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), which is supporting the Halal Expo Dubai, a major exhibition this week.
Raees Ahmed, the trade show's organiser, said: “Halal Expo Dubai is part of our efforts to help Dubai strengthen its position as the global hub of Halal and Islamic economy.
“Halal foods are considered to be healthy and hygienic. A growing number of non-Muslim consumers prefer halal foods, as they are deemed safer. As a result, the distribution of halal foods has expanded beyond traditional markets in cities such as Shanghai, which has 80,000 Muslims.”
China has a strong domestic demand for halal foods, estimated at US$20bn from the country's 26m Muslim consumers.
Globally, Muslim expenditure on food and beverage was estimated at US$1.12tr in 2014 and potentially rising to US$1.58tr in 2020, according to Reuters