Many people do not realize that their food and personal care products are comprised of ingredients that are repugnant to Muslims, and even non-Muslim consumers. Take for example the dough conditioner L-cysteine, which is used in several mainstreamed baked goods. Check your ingredient labels and realize that L-cysteine may be derived from poultry feathers, human and hog hair. Also, most cheese products use enzymes which may have pork origins and their rinds are often processed with a washing of wine. Cosmetics, soaps, skin creams, toothpaste, and vitamins too typically have some components which are originated from pig carcasses. There’s a quip about putting lipstick on a pig, but think about that in reverse the next time you use lip balm or lip gloss. Most people don’t know….
Radio Islam interviewed Susan Labadi, Project Coordinator of the American Halal Association and President of Genius School, Inc. to learn more about the Halal industries. Click here for a link to the radio interview. This article highlights some of the discussion.
According to the Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard State of the Global Economy Report 2016/2017, the global Halal market value is 1.9 trillion USD. That is inclusive of a wide range of industries, such as food and beverage, fashion, Islamic finance, travel and leisure, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, media and logistics.
2015 Food & beverage 1.17 trillion 2021 predicted Food & beverage 1.9 trillion
Globally, Halal consumers are predominantly under 30 years of age, value education, and are highly entrepreneurial minded. In developing countries, many are taking the initiative to start their own enterprises and cannot rely on their government for employment; therefore, they are creating their own futures and will be expected to amplify the availability of Halal products and services in the near future.
DinarStandard also revealed in their 2014/2015 American Muslim Market Study that many American Muslims are a comparatively affluent and well educated group which embrace universal values that are appealing to most people. They favor ethical consumerism–which promotes social responsibility– economic fairness, ethical investment, ecological stewardship, and humane treatment of animals and employees.
Growing professionalism is a positive development among many U.S. Halal product providers; and if consumers are not finding satisfactory performance from their local vendors, many in major metropolitan centers are finding big box retailers are bringing Halal products to them-at reasonable prices due to their large scale logistics. Even local grocers are finally displaying current certification evidence to their patrons; yet, occasionally fraud is an issue. Some privately owned consumer protection agencies are evolving to verify compliance, but their presence is still relatively small and consumers could still benefit from development of standards with accreditation.
Some names of large retailers are Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and Restaurant Depot. Manufacturers of Halal products that may be familiar to most consumers are Saffron Road, Crescent Foods, Tom’s of Maine, Noor Vitamins and Cabot Cheese, to name a few.
On the global stage, as multinational companies cater to the world, companies like Nestle and PepsiCo have large stakes in the Halal market, and while the U.S. has significant dry dairy exports, there is a void in export of proteins. Brazil and India are the world’s largest poultry and beef exporters, respectively, to the 57 OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries. Why are not U.S. entities getting a share?
Smaller U.S. based manufacturers of Halal goods find challenges to exporting primarily due to a lack of Islamic financing (finance without the burden of compounded interest) and the lack of a cohesive U.S.-Global certification and accreditation structure that is recognized internationally.
Given the momentum evidenced in recent years, there is a positive expectation of huge Halal industry expansion, but the question remains about if America will be left behind? It is likely to come down to “Go Global, or Go Home.”