Friday, September 26, 2014

Global Islamic economy growing faster than ever: expert

Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat—The global Islamic economy is growing faster now than at any time previously, attracting increasing investment from around the world, according to the chief executive of a company operating in the sector.
Nader Sabri, chief executive of Muslim lifestyle products manufacturer TIMEZ5, told Asharq Al-Awsat the sector—which includes segments such as Islamic finance and halal food products, as well as the collective economic output of Muslim countries—was “growing faster than at any time before” and had “become very attractive for international investors,” a large portion of whom were not Islamic or based in Muslim-majority countries.
“There are two types of company [operating in this sector],” Sabri said. “The first comprises those who are entering Islamic markets from the outside. These are mostly non-Islamic companies whose interest in Islamic markets is part of a [wider] strategy for entering emerging markets.”
“The second type are those who look [for opportunities] in Islamic markets from the inside, [looking then to venture] outside [Islamic countries]. These are usually companies managed by Muslims or with a focus on this [Islamic] market,” he continued.
“The first type seeks to create opportunities and to capitalize on Islamic markets as they would in any other market. These companies are not driven by Islamic values but will adhere to them [in their activities] in order to reach these markets,” he said.
“The second type of company, meanwhile, adopts Islamic values as part of its raison d’ĂȘtre and applies quality standards and . . . innovation in Islamic markets.”
Speaking of Gulf contribution to the overall Islamic economy, Sabri said that “50 percent of the market’s total revenues” came from Gulf countries, adding that 87 percent of Gulf revenues came from non-Gulf consumers who purchased such products while visiting the region, especially during the pilgrimage season when the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are crowded with pilgrims who often purchase products to give as gifts to family members back home.
But Islamic products also have appeal in non-Islamic countries due to the estimated 300 million Muslims living there, Sabri said, adding this showed there was “a need for more products . . . for Muslims living in foreign [non-Islamic] countries.”
The global Islamic economy includes all sectors driven by the global Muslim population’s adherence to any kind of faith-based activity, with products or services created to cater for such activities. These include Islamic finance, where consumers can obtain loans, mortgages, insurance policies or investment products all adhering to Islamic Shari’a law by avoiding the need to make money via interest. It also includes the global halal food market, which follows Islamic prescriptions on animal slaughter, as well as the tourism, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, media, leisure, and lifestyle segments.
“The lifestyle products segment is currently one of the fastest-growing in the global Islamic market, after years of being on the margins due to the domination of the market by Islamic finance and halal food products,” Sabri said.
A recent Thomson Reuters report estimated the total size of the halal food and Islamic lifestyle products segments at 1.62 trillion US dollars, expecting it to grow to 2.47 trillion dollars by 2018.
The global Islamic economy also encompasses the economies of Islamic countries around the world—estimated at 8 trillion US dollars in total size—which together hold a 1.6 billion population currently growing at twice the rate of the global population.
Sabri added: “Historically, investment in the Islamic market has been concentrated on two segments: Islamic finance and halal food products. The total size of the Islamic market is between 10–12 trillion dollars approximately. And given that the growth rate of the world’s Muslim population is around 1.5 percent, which is double that of the world’s non-Muslim population, Muslims consumers worldwide represent a strong economic force.”
But despite the size of the global Islamic economy and its impressive growth in recent years, there are also many difficulties associated with operating in this market.
“The main challenge is the adoption of new technologies,” Sabri said. “This begins at the simplest level: Muslim consumers have become used to traditional designs, colors and styles, which makes changing these deeply embedded aesthetic expectations a very difficult task indeed. As such, it is important to market and inform consumers of new innovations and to create a suitable, trustworthy environment for the safe consumption of new products.”
Despite this, Sabri points to the success of a number of new products and innovations that have recently entered the market.
“This means the Muslim consumer has become much more receptive towards new ideas,” he said. “It is important to market these products using the language of the consumer . . . joining local cultures with Islamic values, and using the mother tongue of the [particular] consumer [being targeted], in addition to applying internationally recognized standards [for all products], which helps increase the demand for the product.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Australian firms interested in Pak Halal Food Market

LAHORE - High Commissioner Designate to Australia, Naela Chohan has said that Australian companies are interested in investing in the Halal food market and want to enter the Middle Eastern region through Pakistan. It will benefit both the countries and Pakistan will be able to attract more countries for Halal food processing.

She was talking to Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) high-ups during her visit to PBIT where she was welcomed by Chief Executive Officer, Mohammad Ilyas Ghauri. On this occasion, she was also given a presentation on the core functions and working of PBIT and the priority sectors that are in focus in Punjab. The High Commissioner Designate said that she will be working on image building of Pakistan, mainly, trade and export promotion of Pakistan to Australia. CEO PBIT extended PBIT’s full support and services to Mrs Naela Chohan in facilitating the Halal Food Exhibition in Pakistan to attract Australian companies. Industrialists from Sialkot Chambers of Commerce & Industry briefed Mrs Chohan about the potential of exporting sports and surgical goods to Australia. The meeting ended with the exchange of souvenirs.
APP adds from Karachi: “A lack of interest, information and prevalence of stereotypes about Russia have kept Pakistani exporters away from entering Russian market,” said chairman of Pakistan-Russian Business Council of FPCCI, Muhammad Farooq Afzal.
The Russian Government’s decision to ban fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, milk and dairy products from United States of America, European Union, Australia, Canada and other countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow offers a great opportunity for Pakistani exporters to enter Russian food market.
In the wake of the imposed sanctions on Russia in late 1998, the resultant financial crisis and Russian debt default also, Pakistan could have become a major exporter of kinnow, mango, potatoes, rice, processed food and fruit juices there, Chairman, Pakistan-Russian Business Council of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said in a statement here on Friday.
The Chairman, Pakistan-Russian BC, mentioned that it was precisely around that time Europeans, Americans and even Chinese moved back and captured the Russian market. He said that a visit to any supermarket in a Russian city will show how much the country depends on imported food. It would be very difficult for one to find anything of Pakistani origin except kinnow and certain specie of rice.
The PRBC can help Pakistani exporters of food products in finding space in Russian market. Many members of PRBC in the Russian capital have their counterparts and have a great degree of expertise about the complex market.
For Pakistani food products to do well in Russia, a combination of good marketing and attractive packaging is a must along with quality products.
PRBC has worked out a strategy to export 8 items that Russia usually buys from the US and European Union. These include fruit, vegetable, sports items, sports garments, leather garments and pharmaceutical and textiles etc, said M. Farooq Afzal.
Russia imports food products from UK, USA and EU worth dollars 10 billion and the Asian countries especially Indian firms are rushing towards Russian market to fill the gap, he said.
He suggested to Pakistan food exporters to fully participate in Russian food exhibitions in major cities of that country coupled with a combination of good marketing and attractive packaging along with quality products.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Muslim Women in India Can Now Buy Lipstick without Worrying About Pig Fat

Finding the right balance between faith and beauty can sometimes be a tricky proposition for Muslim women. Many believers fear that mainstream cosmetic products might contain alcohol or by-products derived from animals forbidden by Islam.

Makeup also interferes with wudu, the ritual washing performed before prayers, which are observed five times in a day.

But now a Gujarat-based startup has launched a halal (lawful) cosmetic range—among the first of its kind in the country—that contains only vegetable and fruit extracts.

“We came to know about a huge demand for halal cosmetics in Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said Dilip Vadgama, chief operating officer of EcoTrail Personal Care. “But India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population and there was not a single halal cosmetic brand.”
The products are also wudu-friendly because they can be washed away quickly with water, explained Vadgama.

Halal makeup is a small but fast-growing consumer segment. The global halal cosmetics and personal care market is valued at $18.33 billion, according to research firm TechNavio, as part of an overall cosmetic market worth $464 billion, but halal makeup is projected to grow at 13% annually. Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pakistan are seeing huge demand for halal cosmetics thanks to a fast-growing Muslim middle class.

The two-year-old EcoTrail has over 60 products in its portfolio, which are only available in Ahmedabad currently. Vadgama says they’ll be available on Amazon India in a month, ready to be shipped nationwide. The pricing is targeted at the middle-class: Rs 195 for the lipstick and Rs 100 for face wash.

They are also developing permeable nail paints, which would allow moisture to penetrate to the nail, and therefore will not invalidate wudu. Such breathable enamels were first created by a Polish cosmetic brand Inglot and have become a rage in recent years in many predominantly Muslim countries, a happy accident for the European company that was not targeting Muslim consumers initially.

“Muslims in India travel abroad and they come across such products in Saudi Arabia or Southeast Asia and they want them here too,” said Vadgama.

But there are challenges. Lack of awareness and limited access are two of the main problems, and the absence of an authentic global certification body also makes these products less credible.

“There is no overarching organisation that governs halal certification for cosmetic products, leading to various countries developing their own standards. Additionally, different sects of Islam have their own definitions of Halal so developing standards has been a stunted process,” TechNavio said in its latest report.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Halal Meat May Be Processed Differently, But Is it Safer?

Many Muslims have migrated from their ancestral homes in North Africa and Asia to Europe and North America. These emigrants have brought their distinctive cultures and culinary traditions with them. They've also brought their dietary laws, which strictly regulates the slaughter and processing of meat.

Food processed in concordance with Muslim dietary laws is called Halal. Halal is an Arabic word that means "permissible." Although traditionally, meat slaughtered under Jewish kosher practices were consumable by Muslims, most authorities today only accept meat slaughtered by a method called "zabiha."

Zabiha imposes many requirements. For example, the animal must be healthy and must not be a forbidden species, the slaughterer must be a sane adult Muslim and the animal must be facing Ka'aba (Mecca). The slaughter itself is preceded by the words "Allah-o-Akbar' (God is Great)." A very sharp knife must be used to prevent undue suffering. Failing to adhere to any requirements of zabiha renders the slaughtered animal "Haram" (forbidden).

Contrary to the claims of animal rights activists, the slaughtering process is specifically designed to minimize the animals' pain, whereas commercial methods sometimes grievously injure the animal while leaving it alive.

Meat is central to many dishes originating in Muslim countries. One survey found that Muslims constitute 5 per cent of the British population but consume around 20 per cent of the total meat purchased in the country. In order to satisfy this demand, the food industry caters to the needs of their Muslim customers.

Today, halal meat is largely produced in commercial slaughterhouses staffed by specially trained Muslim workers who conduct the actual slaughter and supervise the subsequent processing. The animal must be healthy so the workers are trained to identify diseases that would render the animal unclean. Most facilities also have government inspectors on the line so the product still meets government standards.

But the focus of halal is on ensuring spiritual purity rather than science-based cleanliness, so buying halal food does not guarantee your food will be safe. Last year a Halal food processor in British Columbia was charged with several counts of knowingly selling food unfit for human consumption and a similar case was reported in Texas.

Fortunately, such cases are rare and problems also occur with non-halal products. Robert Singleton, a co-owner of, Rancho Feeding Corp, a California slaughterhouse, plead guilty yesterday to processing cattle infected with skin cancer. His deal has him working with prosecutors against his co-accused in the case. Workers at the plant allegedly took advantage of inspectors' lunch breaks to process diseased animals, going so far as to replace disfigured heads with those of healthy animals to hide their crime. This fiasco resulted in the recall of a staggering 8.7-million pounds of beef.
The case of Rancho Feeding Corp. highlights why halal food is safer. For the owners of Rancho, the opportunity to sneak diseased meat down the line was just too tempting to resist. In a federally regulated Halal facility, there would have been ritual slaughterers in addition to the government inspectors so, with extra pairs of eyes watching the line it would have been much harder to commit this fraud. Halal certification does not mean that the food is free from harmful microbes, extraneous materials, or chemical contamination. We need modern science-based food safety programs to prevent these types of hazards but purchasing halal products ensures that there is an extra layer of oversight that can effectively prevent food fraud and generally results in a closer examination of the food that ends up on our plates to ensure that it is safe to eat.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thai Halal Food Festival draws huge crowd

The first Thai Halal Food Festival at Thailand's Embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday night was a big draw.
Organized by the Thai diplomatic mission in cooperation with the local business community, the festival featured food products and authentic cuisine, including rice, frozen foodstuffs, packed juice, corns, candies and spices.

1409772075111965300.jpg"The festival focused mainly on halal products from Thailand, which have strong export potential," said Wijak Chittarat, charge d'affaires, at the Thai Embassy, while opening the event. "Our government, especially our Jeddah-based trade office, are working closely and intensely to boost Thai halal product exports," he added.
Over 2,000 Thai companies have the right to use halal accreditation labels for their food products, which cover virtually all kinds of foods. 
“Their production is in line with Islamic law and food safety, and thus receives a warm welcome from consumers in the Middle East. This helps strengthen Thailand's competitiveness in the global halal market," said Chittarat.
The Thai government has created a specific agency under the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards of Thailand (ACFS) for promoting halal foods. "Moreover, Thailand has a rage of halal beverages, marine products, canned food and frozen foodstuffs that can be exported to Saudi Arabia and Gulf states," he added.
Some of the prominently featured products at the festival were
being exported to the Kingdom by Healthy Foods company of Bangkok, Biopharm Chemicals Company, and Khaolaor Laboratories.
Chittarat said a number of halal products were being exported to the Saudi and other Gulf markets. To spice up the festival, there were cooking demonstrations. In fact, Thailand is one of the few countries, which has a Halal Science Center at Chulalongkorn University, besides a halal assurance and liability quality system.
"With its sizable Muslim population, particularly in its southern provinces, Thailand has great experience in preparing halal food," said Chittarat.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One Day Specialized Training workshop on Halal Gelatin organized by Halal Research Council

About Organizer:

Halal Research Council (HRC) is working globally on Halal certifications in order to cater the needs of Halal food and nutrition besides non-food agencies especially in the FMCG sectors with state-of-the-art services of Advisory & consultancy, Halal Certification, Education and Trainings in order to promote Halal industry, with an objective to boost the Halal economy worldwide.

Training Proceedings on Halal Gelatin:

This report covered the present scenario and the growth prospects of the Gelatin and Gelatin Derivatives market in all over the globe. It focused on four primary areas of Gelatin: manufacture methods, product quality standards & technology development, market situation & trend analysis, applications and distribution policy of Halal gelatin. Training was started by the recitation of Holy Quran and then welcomes address to honorable participants and prestigious speakers. Dr. S.M. Ghufran Saeed is expert Food Technologist and currently serving in Department of Agricultural, SGS Pakistan. He involved in teaching, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi during the session 2007 to 2012 (Five years). He also works in HEJ Research Institute as Research Associate. He has sound background of the subject and capable of handling and research study based on food. His Concept in basic sciences is quite clear and well developed that enables him to grasp quickly new ideas and methods. His analytical ability and critical thinking often helps in solving research based problems and to reach the correct findings and conclusions.  Dr. S.M. Ghufran Saeed was invited for the vote of thanks and while addressing to the participants he said, Gelatins across the globe has an increasing demand and almost it is manufactured in all the continents. Scientifically gelatin is a form of protein which is derived from collagen which is found in all vertebrate animals in their bones and skin. Gelatin is not occurs in free form, it has to be derived from a source containing collagen. Gelatin is used in various industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, medical, cosmetics, technical and others. The properties of gelatin like its odorless tasteless, reacting with acids and acting as base makes it more suitable to use in food industry. The annual Gelatin production across the globe is 330 metric tons in which 40% is alone consumed in Europe. Considering the changing food habits, development in medical, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic industry the requirement of gelatin is increasing thus stimulating the global gelatin market. Thereafter, it was the official start of the training and Dr. S.M. Ghufran Saeed started the first session with the following topics. Introduction of Halal industry where he discussed emerging concept of Halal food in Halal industry, Introduction of Global Halal market, Islamic Guidelines For Food And Drink, Halal Practices In The Food Industry, Critical Halal Issues In The Food Industry, Food Label For Halal Foods, Halal Foods And Requirements For Importing Halal Products.

In the next session, He discussed the Kosher & Halal Food Laws and the History and market Value of Gelatin, Introduction of Gelatin, Global view of Gelatin industry, where he said, gelatin world production is round about 3,50,000 M Ton in 2014 and estimated  3,96,000 M in 2017. After that he discussed about the Sources of Gelatin like common sources of collagen for gelatin are pig skin, cattle skin, cattle bones, fish skin, poultry skin. He briefed about the Production & Processing of Halal Gelatin and the Use of Gelatin, Introduction of Gelatin science, composition Of Gelatin and the types of Gelatin and the Chemistry of Gelatin.  He also outlined the challenges faced by gelatin industry. He said, the gelatin industry, over the years, has borne the brunt of negative publicity over the safety of this animal-derived ingredient, and the resulting tightened regulations, and legislative riders governing the use of gelatin in supplements. Supported by new research findings, manufacturers are fast promoting gelatin as safe for human consumption.  In the next Session the topics of discussion were Characterization & Quality Criteria of Gelatin, Physical & Chemical Properties of Gelatin, regulatory requirements, and Standard quality tests of Gelatin.
The Next Session was covered by Mufti Zeeshan Abdul Aziz Senior Shariah Advisor and Halal Scheme Manager, Pakistan. Mufti Zeeshan Abdul Aziz is graduated and specialized from Jamia Dar Ul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan, having Takhassus Fil Ifta (Specialization in Islamic Jurisprudence) majoring in Halal Foods and Islamic Banking & Finance. He is serving as Chairman Shariah Board of Halal Development Foundation, Japan, (HDFJ), Shariah Advisor of SGS Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and has been associated as Member Shariah Board of several Halal Certification bodies of Middle East, Pakistan, Europe and Far East and has performed more than100 Halal Certification audits of different food, beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries in different parts of the world. He is also the member of Technical Committee on Halal Foods and Halal Cosmetics Standards, PSQCA (Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority) and member of Halal Accreditation Committee of PNAC (Pakistan National Accreditation Council), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of Pakistan for accreditation of the Halal Certification bodies and has performed Halal Accreditation Audits as Shariah Expert on behalf of the Accreditation Body. During his lecture, he said Halal and Haram is a sensitive and serious matter and is gaining serious attention globally. Adulteration and contamination of Haram and doubtful ingredients and additives are major concerns in the Halal industry presently and standard methods of analysis need to be developed. Properly processed, verified and certified Halal products (in particular, foods) are pertinent to capture the lucrative Halal market. There exist the urgent need to resolve and harmonize issues on ingredients (gelatin, alcohol, slaughtering) among certification bodies/authorities/government agencies. He covered The Topics of Introduction to Halal Gelatin, What Is Halal, Sources of Gelatin in Islam, Shariah Issues, Shariah Guidelines for Gelatin and Halal Gelatin Vs Non Halal Gelatin, Application & Marketing value of Halal Gelatin, Nutritional Importance Of Gelatin, Uses Of Gelatin In Food Production, Uses Of Gelatin In Non Food Industries, Gelatin Testing By PCR And The Future Prospects. In these topics, he discussed that these days, alcohol is mostly prepared from sources other than completely Haram Liquids/Drinks, therefore all those perfumes in which this Alcohol is used, are Tahir and their external use is permissible and also details of Ingredients made up from Animal Source (and specially Pig source) have already been mentioned before under the permissible and Impermissible animals. Ingredients made up these days from Synthetic Source and Bio-Technology are also permissible if they are not Intoxicant (e.g. does not contain alcohol from impermissible source) and not harmful for health and do not contain any other Haram Substance in them.  He said approximately 90% of all pharmaceutical gelatin produced is processed to capsules and the health care (hygiene and beauty) market is one that has been showing one of the highest growth rates in the world. In 2004, this market was 230.4 billion US$ and has grown about 8% year over the last five years.
In The End of the Training Workshop, Questions and Answer Session related to the following Points was Taken Place. The Training Workshop Was Ended By Certificate Distribution Ceremony. We thankful to our valuable Participants of this training who belong to the prestigious organizations like Fauji fertilizer limited, Bureau certification, Pak gelatin, SGS Pvt Ltd, and the students of university of Karachi without their valuable contribution this training could not become successful. The trainees were quite satisfied by the quality of the knowledge given by the trainers on Halal Gelatin. Over all, training met huge success.