By Natasha Decarie | Marketing Coordinator – Insights & Communications
The term Halal is associated with Islamic dietary laws where foods are processed and prepared in accordance with specific requirements. The meaning of Halal in Arabic is permissible or lawful – it is a way of life for Muslims where health is the key consideration. Apart from food, it also includes many other areas such as beauty and fashion.
The Halal lifestyle focuses on the humane treatment of animals during the slaughtering process and does not include pork or pork by-products. Halal does not just refer to meats however, it can also include foods such as grain products, rice, pasta, and bread that have not been prepared with items such as alcohol, lard, or vanilla extract, which are not considered Halal. Fruits and vegetables are considered halal, but like with grains, they cannot be prepared with alcohol, animal shortening, bacon and other haram (non-Halal) ingredients.
Muslims are made up of many ethnicities including South Asian, Arab, Persian, African, Chinese, Malaysian, Canadian and European. Opportunities abound for this underserviced population of over 1 million which is expected to triple in next 20 years. This includes a new generation of Muslims called Generation M who have larger spending power, are focused on inclusiveness, and believe in being faithful while living a modern life.
The Halal food sector in Canada is currently worth $1 Billion but only 30% of Canadian Halal grocery shoppers feel that major food companies are doing a good job meeting their Halal product needs.
In addition, almost the same percentage feel that grocery retailers are not meeting their needs either– this includes traditional specific ethnic grocers, multiethnic retailers as well as national grocery retailers.
The attributes most sought after and important to Halal shoppers are organic, price point, availability, healthy ingredients, and quality. Of less importance is that the packaging look ‘Islamic’ however it should be certified (HMA- Halal Monitoring Society- is the most trusted certifier) to ensure authenticity and trustworthiness. Certification has been required in Canada since 2016 and is necessary for the Muslim consumer to trust the manufacturer. Research also shows that Halal consumers in Canada spend more time researching and reading ingredients on labels than mainstream consumers, so this is important. Certification is also necessary for export. Another consideration for manufacturers is larger format or increased pack size products to cater to the larger average halal household size of four or more people (Canadian average is 2.9).
The halal consumer segment is a potentially lucrative one – the market is growing between 10% to 15% annually, where other market categories are growing 1% to 2%. The potential and opportunity are large within this group of consumers. In addition, there is also an increase in non-Muslim consumers, noting health, food safety and great taste as reasons to seek Halal food. This development has been triggered by the change in mindset of healthy food, as well as the call for more ethical practices worldwide.
Source: The Canadian Halal Market Insights & Opportunities, Nourish Food Marketing