By Abdalhamid Evans, Senior Consultant, Imarat Consultants

In the past five years, Halal has become a global issue. With a Muslim consumer base of an estimated 1.6 billion people, and a significant and as yet unmeasured number of non-Muslim Halal consumers, the Halal market demographic is arguably the single largest market sector that is defined by a specific set of compliance parameters.

Halal now plays an increasingly frequent role in government policies in both Muslim majority and minority countries. Halal is already an important factor in corporate strategies for food, personal care and pharmaceutical multinationals around the world.

Entrepreneurial and SME development, research and development projects, online and digital business pioneers, advertising and marketing agencies, laboratory testing, logistics, training… it seems today that everywhere you look, Halal is part of the picture of the next stage of economic growth. Halal compliance is having a major impact in the food sector and beyond, affecting agriculture, manufacturing, retail, restaurant, travel and hospitality sectors.

Halal compliance is having a major impact in the food sector and beyond, affecting agriculture, manufacturing, retail, restaurant, travel and hospitality sectors. Halal is increasingly a factor in health, safety, labelling and quality control issues all over the world, and, due to global trade, the evolution of the regulatory framework governing Halal compliance has effectively become a global issue.

The role of SME’s in the Halal sector is a matter of paramount importance for all economies, regardless of whether this has been recognised by the respective governmental agencies around the world.

“SME’s are the lifeblood of the private sector…
SME’s create competitive and efficient markets…
SME proliferation is an important factor for poverty reduction…
SME success is essential for the developing economies…
SME’s are the major employers in most countries…
SME’s are a major source of innovation…
SME’s are the engines of growth…”

Nowhere are these statements more true than in the Halal sector. If we look at the evolution of the health and speciality foods market, we can get an idea of the kind of related growth patterns that we can expect to see in the Halal sector. In many cases, today’s market leaders were the SME’s of twenty-five years ago, led by individuals who had the vision and the drive to see their ideas come to life and shape the markets of tomorrow.