Halal in America

May 8, 2008 by  


By Ayub Khan, MMNS

A sparkling new halal poultry plant opened in a small town in North America. In the past month more than a dozen new Halal establishments, ranging from butchers to restaurants, sprouted up in Toledo, Houston, Chicago, New York, and Toronto. A decade old Halal wholesale and distribution business in the Washington D.C. area is now on sale for a million dollars. The annual sales of the establishment are a cool $4,500,000. The current owner has bigger interests in mind and is therefore selling it. A cosmetic brand is launching a new line of Halal certified beauty products. All these indications show that there is a demand for Halal products in North America and the businesses are rushing to meet it.

According to latest estimates that current value of US halal market is as big as that of the entire state of Indiana and growing by leaps and bounds. While there is scramble to get a piece of this pie the businesses should note that any attempt to take a short cut to profits will end up harming the entire industry in the long run. Instead of imposing their own “meanings” of Halal they should instead look at what the Halal consumers want.

Recent surveys done in Chicago and Toronto indicate that the Muslim consumers are discerning buyers. Unlike the common consumers they actually take the time to read the labels in detail. Going beyond the labels they would like to know precisely what is in the product that they are about to consume. They are not convinced by products which simply put the Halal label. They would like to know who is the certifying authority and what are its credentials. 84% of those surveyed said that they actually look for Halal symbols on the products they want to purchase. They said that their purchasing decisions are greatly influenced by the credibility and reputation of the certifying body.

In order to market their products successfully the businesses should seek certification from organizations whose standards meet those of the majority of the population and which are the least controversial. Instead of relying on fraudulent desk top organizations from where they can buy a Halal certificate they should do the honest thing and go to established and reputable organizations.

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