The halal food market: importance, opportunities and certification

The halal food market: importance, opportunities and certification


Mira El Ghaziri, MD of HealthyPath, empowers agencies to make data-informed decisions and implement transformative solutions for food systems transformation. Here, she explains the importance of halal food in the Middle East.

Beyond the religious factor, halal food is of great significance in the Middle East, playing a vital role in cultural, economic and social interactions. Indeed, the halal food market has a large and growing consumer base. Moreover, the increasing demand for halal products isn’t limited to Muslim-majority countries but also by Muslims in countries worldwide.

The tourism industry greatly benefits from halal food options in hotels and restaurants, attracting Muslim tourists and enhancing their overall experience. Furthermore, halal products tend to be more hygienic, clean and safe, thus making them more appealing and a reassuring option for consumers.

Businesses with halal certification show commitment to specific criteria for sourcing, manufacturing and hygiene, building consumer trust through credibility and reliability.

Halal food: an attractive sector to F&B businesses

The halal food industry is crucial, as Islam provides specific guidelines on food types, slaughter methods and hygiene for Muslims’ religious obligations. Moreover, several aspects must be considered when it comes to the halal market in the Middle East. This includes looking at the market size and growth. Forecasts suggest ongoing global growth in the halal F&B sector, driven by the expanding Muslim population expected to reach 2.2 billion by 2030.

Halal standards in the ME and beyond

Current halal standards in the Middle East can be divided into GCC standards and Middle Eastern Halal Standards. GCC halal standards follow the Gulf Standardization Organization (GSO) and country-specific regulations. Similarly, the Middle Eastern halal standards cover different country-specific authorities such as Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Jordan. As for the international halal certification bodies and organizations, there are multiple key entities. For instance, there is the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) in the USA and Halal Certification Services (HCS) in Europe. In addition, there is the Malaysian Halal Certification Authority (JAKIM). Furthermore, there are other important certification bodies in countries like India, Singapore, Pakistan and Australia.


Many countries in the Middle East have established halal certification bodies and regulatory frameworks. Their goal is to ensure that products comply with Islamic laws. However, halal certification remains a major challenge. One of the reasons is the lack of unified halal certification requirements and harmonization of standards. This consequently causes inconsistencies and uncertainties, with discrepancies due to different interpretations, cultural variations and different approaches to certification. Moreover, incorrect item labeling is another challenge. It puts customers at risk and undermines the legitimacy of the halal certification process. Some Middle Eastern countries lack sufficient resources for halal certification. For example, they don’t have qualified halal certifiers, laboratories and appropriate infrastructure. Furthermore, deploying digital solutions to improve transparency and assure halal compliance is critical. However, it can be difficult for certain businesses, particularly small ones. The complexity of regulatory frameworks in different countries is another demanding challenge that must be carefully addressed.

Navigating halal standards and certification

Challenges can only be addressed through collaborative action across the relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, businesses must work toward understanding halal standards and certification by finding reliable certification bodies, ensuring compliance with those standards and applying the necessary measures. Additionally, businesses must work on understanding the fundamental principles of halal, especially in food production and processing. They must also conduct comprehensive research about the Halal standards followed in different countries and regions. They also need to identify and contact certification bodies, conduct halal audits, implement changes and finally document and maintain records.

Mira El Ghaziri,
MD of HealthyPath

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