Germany’s Halal Market Creates Opportunities For Food Companies
Germany has the biggest ethnic population in Europe and for the growing Muslimpopulation in Germany, there is a growing demand for products that are halal certified.
German and European suppliers are increasingly flooding the German market with halal products, as is evident, for example, with the proliferating stocks of halal products that are visible in the shelves of German supermarkets. “Only a few years back, it was very rare, if at all, to see halal products in a German supermarket. There was some misconception about the term halal that was nebulously associated with religious fanaticism. “However, that misconception is gradually being replaced by a healthy sense of appreciation as many supermarkets are trying to court Muslims with halal products,” says Armin Bollig, a consumer behaviour researcher in Frankfurt.
With over three million Muslims – and the trend shows further growth in demographics – German food manufacturers are discovering an attractive market by offering products that conform to the sentiments of Germany’s fastest growing minority. “This little section you see in the main shopping hall of this supermarket will convey to you the change that is taking place in the behaviour pattern of the German consumer who is today willing to accept food practices which were once frowned upon,” maintains Bollig as he walks through a Frankfurt supermarket that also caters to Turks and other Muslims.
The three million Muslim consumers in Germany may still be a small market but it portends to grow fast as more and more of the local consumers also join this following of consumers. German consumers are now relishing the doner rolls – the pita bread rolled around pieces of meat and vegetables and spiced with a hot red chilly sauce or white garlic sauce. But many German and European suppliers are catering their halal products not only for the consumers in Germany and other neighbouring European countries but also for their export markets in the Muslim world. Some of the halal-conform products being manufactured include chocolates, soups, biscuits and what have you.
The food company Nestle, for example, has created some 75 halal certified units within its global chain of companies. Indeed, the Swiss company earns more profits with its halal products than with its range of organic products which are, incidentally, enjoying popularity amongst Western consumers.
France’s retail chain Casino even introduced last year an Internet site called Wassila exclusively dedicated to halal products. Britain’s Boots has launched a range of so-called halal baby foods in 30 of its retail stores. After all, some of the German halal suppliers argued, Malaysia also has halal burgers served by McDonald’s which has with this novel approach been able to increase its sales by 30 percent in a short span of time.
The World Halal Forum reckons that the worldwide sales of halal products in the current year would touch some 634 billion euros, up from 580 billion euros in 2005.
The world’s biggest food exhibition, ANUGA, which will run in Cologne from October 10 to 14, will also focus on halal products this year, with a third of the 6,000 exhibitors showcasing a large variety of halal foods. Malaysia is also being represented by a contingent of food-manufacturing companies, many of whom are supplying halal products.