Halal Market Has Huge Unexploited Potential

It’s time to get serious about halal. Globally, over 1.6 billion people identify themselves as Muslim. In the UK there are three million, that’s a lot of shoppers. The global market for halal is some £425bn, of which Europe accounts for £45bn. The UK market alone is worth an estimated £2.6bn and growing rapidly.

Many in this growing shopper population are time-poor, cash-rich young professionals, and there is a substantial opportunity here for NPD. Yet the halal opportunity is poorly understood – for instance, only 10% is meat products. There is huge potential in other categories, e.g. non-alcoholic beverages , processed foods and cosmetics. You only need to look to South East Asia to see the potential of halal certification for butter, sauces, milk etc.

Indeed, as Morrison’s’ new halal pick and mix confectionery trial shows, some UK retailers are making tentative moves to broaden their halal offerings. Asda now has dedicated halal freezer sections, Ocado has an online halal store and Boots even sells halal baby food. But there remain exceptions. I think this is largely because some unhelpful misconceptions about halal remain. Some say the UK is not ready for mainstream halal. Others say retailers are coy about labelling products such as New Zealand lamb as halal.

Instead of being nervous, retailers need to play their role in educating consumers as to what the halal label actually means. Creating clarity around the issue of stunning is particularly important. While many consumers associate halal methods of slaughter with animal cruelty, in fact about 90% of halal meat on sale in the UK has come from animals stunned prior to slaughter.

In the UK specifically, I see great potential around ready meals, ambient snacks, confectionery and soft drinks. Leather goods and toiletries are other areas where halal adds value.

If consumers were better educated about halal, think how many more shoppers would join the category. It’s an opportunity retailers and suppliers can’t afford to miss.

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