Dubai : Having a stamp of approval that a food product meets Islamic standards does not always result in consumers buying it, according to industry experts at a session at the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai on Wednesday.
Aside from displaying a halal logo, producers should state how a product was produced, said Saleh Abdullah Lootah, managing director of UAE-based Al Islami Foods, a producer of packaged halal food.
“It is the process, not the body that certifies … what kind of process do they certify — is it the stunning, the killing, the gas? Mention this to the consumer … I have seen different logos of halal … but they do not mention the process…the new generation would demand this information to be on their products for them to make the right choice,” Lootah said.
Companies asked to state how products are produced on their labels
Islam requires Muslims to consume halal products, which basically do not contain alcohol or pork.
The market to process, produce and distribute halal food and drinks is expected to grow into a $1.6 trillion (Dh5.8 trillion) industry by 2018 from about $1 trillion in 2012, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specialising in Muslim markets.
A challenge faced by the industry is a lack of a unified standard for what exactly is halal. There are between 500 and 3,000 certification agencies ally, 80 per cent of them in non-Muslim countries, according to Sebnem Sen, operations manager, tradeflow, at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.
The lack of a unified halal standard has raised production costs for food and beverage firms as they have to follow different national regulatory standards.
The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which says it aims to safeguard the interests of the Muslim world, is creating al halal standards.
Objective :To promote dialogue and foster cooperation among the Muslim and non-Muslim businessmen in the belief that collaboration is the salient feature of the 21st century international relations. Business partnerships can become genuine bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.