The growing Halal industry, worth an estimated US $2.1 trillion, brings renewed focus on the UAE as a financial and trade hub, says IIR Middle East, organisers of the forthcoming Halal World Expo.
As the three day celebration of Eid Al-Fitr quickly approaches, Muslims around the world are buying Halal foods to break the fast for both their families and those in need. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims demanding Halal-ensured products; it is understandable therefore that annual growth for the Halal food market stands at US$500 billion.
The UAE imports 80 per cent of the Halal food it consumes from countries such as Brazil and Australia, the latter exporting 43,071 tones of mutton, 17,685 tones of lamb and 3312 tones of beef to the Middle East in 2006.
“Importing, production and exporting of Halal products are a growing industry, especially for companies working in or with the UAE” said Christine Weaver, Exhibitions Manager for Halal World Expo.
“Businesses now have the opportunity to take part in the most comprehensive event in the Middle East, focusing on the increasingly global Halal industry. The event offers regional and international exhibitors a gateway to the Middle East and international markets, and therefore, a cost-effective platform for exhibitors to market their products and services to an ever-increasing demand in a worldwide industry,” she added.
The production and subsequent exporting of Halal products is a major boom to the UAE. Tawfik Mathlouthi, the inventor of Mecca Cola has brought his popular product to the Middle East after shifting more than 2.2 million bottles in Europe in just two months. He claims to have created the first truly Halal energy drink because unlike other energy drinks, the ingredient taurine in Mecca Power comes from a source that is Halal. Having signed a deal with Mojarrad General Trading (MGT), an Emirati company, Matholuthi built a production plant in Dubai and secured distribution rights across the Middle East.
"Saudi Arabia has already ordered five million 1.5 litre bottles," said Mathlouthi, a Franco-Tunisian radio journalist.
Mecca Middle East Co. with capital of US$4 million, will be exhibiting at the Halal World Expo along with other major global companies, such as Nestle ME and Tahira Foods.
Halal World Expo, which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 9-11 December 2007, illustrates how the Gulf is increasingly being considered the local hub of Halal food development and logistics. According to figures from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UAE is the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia.
“There is a growing importance to guarantee products are Halal and we are witnessing ongoing debates in Muslim countries on how to maintain and ensure standards,” said Weaver.
Certifying that products are Halal from producer to consumer has been difficult because of the lack of global standards for production. If certification practices are not adopted by Halal food companies in Muslim countries, they will lose out on the global market. By the same logic, however, once certification can be agreed upon, the industry should experience an increase due to greater trust by foreign markets, especially in Europe.
Halal businesses which already appreciate the importance of such an agreement will be attending a panel discussion, “Global Halal Certification Standards: Moving From Local To Global Halal Certification”. The panel will feature representatives from Halal certification bodies from Australia, South Africa, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Middle East and will analyse different Halal certification tactics, methods and the need to create a global Halal certification body and Halal logo.
This panel will be presented by the Global Halal and Islamic Business Forum which will run alongside the Halal World Expo. The exhibition will be an annual landmark event opening the gateway for the Middle East market to the international Halal industry.
The Halal World Expo and the Global Halal and Islamic Business Forum will provide a platform for leaders, industry experts and officials to forge new business relationships and showcase global quality products in the areas of food production and manufacturing, clothing, lifestyle products and Islamic finance services.