Bakers Journal

Halal halo

May 5, 2015
By Ehsan Sairally

The complexity of our modern food system – with its technological, agri-science, health and other societal and economic effects – creates a growing concern over how food is being produced and delivered, challenging food producers to seek manufacturing methods that lessen the impact on our environment.

Consumers and producers alike, preoccupied with this new paradigm shift, leave little room in the minds of consumers about an age-old tradition dating some 1,400 years: halal. Steeped in centuries of tradition, halal foods are seeing a resurgence after a long period of quietude in the consumer marketplace.

Consumers, while concerned with healthy nutrition, have acquired a new sense of devotion for more traditional food products like halal, a tradition that has stood the test of time. Halal is at the confluence of a healthy and growing demographic: the sectarian consumer.

As the global food market continues to grow, new market opportunities abound, such as the convergence of halal with bakery goods. Halal would “bake” sense!


If one would compare the typical North American food basket with the more traditional halal food basket, empirical evidence would suggest most halal consumers would buy the same bakery products insofar that these bakery products would be devoid of alcohol, pork and any of its derivatives.

Traditional Halal guidelines are as follows:

Without exception:

  • Alcohol
  • Blood
  • Carnivorous animals
  • Dead animal
  • Emulated food
  • Swine

The food evolution, or rather the food revolution, is taking centre stage globally. Many consumers appreciate extra steps taken to make their food nutritionally sound for their health, as well as their faith.

Therefore, halal products make sense in view of their growing market potential both domestically and abroad. Hence, to put Halal into perspective, the following statistics are important for decision makers.

  • Halal global population $1.7 billion
  • Global trade 20 per cent
  • By 2025, 30 per cent world demographic
  • Global annual GDP at $3.4 trillion
  • Annual halal market potential: $800 billion to $1.2 trillion
  • JWT study U.S., $170 billion food expenditure
  • Canada $1 billion plus

Market opportunities to diversify:

  • Airlines
  • Tourism
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Industrial catering
  • Schools and universities
  • Supermarkets and specialty stores
  • Special events, conferences, symposium, travel
  • Hospital and retirement homes
  • Humanitarian aids

As an industry that needs to capture new markets and keep existing consumers on board, creating halal opportunities is timely for the baking industry. Halal is the right product to attract new customers.

Halal could be used as a benchmark for your product reformulation and new ingredients status. Going forward, some of the ingredients that are critical to halal production include: gelatin, lard, alcohol, enzymes, processing aids, additives, coating and packaging materials.

Halal advantages and benefits:

  • Value added
  • Consumer acceptance
  • Growing population
  • Informed choice/decision
  • Clean label
  • Timely access
  • Globally recognized
  • Engaging consumers
  • Convenience and market dynamics
  • Minimum adjustments and minimum investment
  • Poised for mainstream acceptance

The halal food concept dates back 1,436 years and is still relevant today. Therefore, the integration of halal food into modern consumers’ diets – for which they seek healthy, nutritious and eco-friendly products – would likely be accepted with an open mind.

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