Halal meat increase in Britain: the correlation of ethnicities, faiths and food habits

Nando Halal Chicken

Halal meat increase in Britain: the correlation of ethnicities, faiths and food habits

The concept of halal food is that which is edible according to the Islamic law. It is slaughtered according to certain rules, which include blessing in the name of God.

The UK is known for its multi cultural population, which in turn correlates to being multi faith. In fact, the country is becoming inclined to increase its ethnic diversity. This is noticeable when we compare the growth of the ethnic minorities in the last 20 years. In 1991 the ethnic population was estimated around 3 million, which almost doubled to 7 million in recent times (2011 census). This accounts for Black, Asian and those ethnicities other than the white British. Of course, ethnicity and religion are different components, yet the increase in ethnicity shows a correlation with an increase in the halal meat market. This suggests that there must be an increase in the population coming over from Islamic influenced states like Pakistan and the Middle East. The total number of Muslims according to the Office of national statistics showed around 2.4 million in 2009 – this was highly questionable when the Online Meat Trading Journal had actually presented in their research showing around 6 million halal meat eaters in the UK; of course suggesting that the government was incorrect.

With an increase in ethnicities, it could be an important factor in the increase of halal meat distribution. Taking the example of my mother, of Pakistani origin, she arrived to England in 1992 and settled in North London where the population consists of a white British majority. There was an extreme lack of halal meat food places so she would get the meat from specific halal butchers in the area of Turnpike Lane. At this point, supermarkets like Sainsbury’s did not offer a halal meat range, because of course, as figures suggest there was a limited demand. Now, in 2014 she still lives in north London, yet has no issue finding halal food places even within a mile of her home. ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s all offer a halal meat range as well as halal ready meals. In fact, there are multiple halal restaurants, which have opened up such as Nando’s, KFC, Subway and of course recently pizza express. Similarly, like my mother, many have migrated to England and thus a demand for a certain type of food would boost.

The halal meat market has, according to Mintel market research shifted from 11% in 2001 to 25% in 2011! Britain’s multi cultural quality has a definite hand in this, albeit not the only factor it is a vital one. With businesses booming due to its expansion in its meat, it would not be a surprise to see a majority of food places putting halal on the menu. The HMC (Halal Muslim Committee) was established to ensure a confidence in the authenticity of halal meat; Dr John Lever writes that the value of the halal market in the UK is an estimated £1 billion to £2 billion.

In the last two decades we have seen Britain becoming more open to different cultures, as more people migrate and there is an increase in ethnicities, there also seems to be an increase in the availability of halal products. This halal meat increase may well reflect Britain as the hub of the multicultural and multi faith population.

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