The global halal food market is valued at around $700bn in sales per year and constantly growing, plus other halal consumer products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, is increasingly becoming one of the most important trade channels between the Middle East and Asia.

The UAE has offered Malaysia a “gateway to the Middle East” for halal products through its Ras Al-Khaimah Free Trade Zone, from where Malaysian halal goods could be shipped tax-free to high-value halal markets in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. And the trade volume could be significant: Malaysia was the world’s largest exporter of halal goods valued over $11bn, primarily processed food and beverages, in 2013.

Behind the impressive growth of the global halal market stands not only the fact that the Muslim population is fast growing in numbers and has already reached a massive consumer base of 2bn people or about 23% of the global population. But what further drives the sector is that halal food and related products are becoming more mainstream also for non-Muslims, and this beyond its religious connotation.

Room for growth also becomes obvious when it is taken into account that the current production capabilities of the halal industry are only able to serve 20% of the global demand. Adding to this, a number of industrialised non-Muslim countries have opened to the halal market, among them the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

(Source: Gulf Times, April 16, 2014)