In one of the sessions at the Business Forum which was recently held during the World Halal Summit (WHS) 2015, the risk factors and consumer misperceptions faced by Halal food suppliers in the modern market were discussed.
Panelists deliberating during the Business Forum about Halal from a tourism perspective. From Left: Zulkifly Md Said, Director General, Industry Development Division Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC); Safdar Khan, Group Country Manager MasterCard Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Malaysia Branch; Hajjah Jumaatun Azmi, Founder & Managing Director of KasehDia Sdn Bhd; and Fazal Bahardeen, Founder & CEO of CrescentRating.
Dr. Habib M’ Nasria, Director of Quality Control at McDonald’s International, Dubai, UAE, spoke about the lengths in which a major player in the fast food market go to ensuring the integrity of Halal products. This includes strict monitoring of supply chain processes to ensure integrity of Halal certified food products.
For some, Islamophobia defines the European public’s perception on Halal.
“Negative image of Muslims have led to a perception that buying Halal products are a way of condoning animal cruelty and the Islamisation of Europe,” said Koen Praetere, Founder of Halal consultancy firm called Halal Balancing. More has to be done to educate consumers that wholesomeness and quality are the guiding philosophies of Halal.
Consumers also habitually assume that Halal meat production often only focusses on the method of slaughter. However the concept of Halal encompasses so much more, including responsible animal husbandry, animal welfare, hygiene and other universal good practices before and after the actual slaughtering act.
These practices are meant to deliver quality products, which will meet the religious obligations of Muslim consumers. “Halal products will also benefit non-Muslim consumers who will be purchasing a wholesome, sustainable and responsibly produced product,” added Koen.
In another session, the Muslim-friendly travel sector and the huge opportunity it presents were discussed. Among the panellists were Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating and Safdar Khan, MasterCard’s Group Country Manager, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and Group Head, Islamic Payments, Southeast Asia.
Fazal Bahardeen said that at present 90 per cent of Muslims travel for business and leisure, and the Muslim travel market is currently worth about USD140 billion a year. By 2020, it is estimated to be worth in excess of USD200 billion.
“This presents tremendous opportunities to players in various travel-related industries who see the commercial value of increasing Muslim travellers,” Fazal adds.
Among these companies include the global company MasterCard. Safdar Khan said that MasterCard is now actively branching into Muslim-friendly card instruments such as debit cards designed specifically for Hajj pilgrims.
“Islamic banking is now a key focus area for MasterCard,” said Safdar during the forum.
It is worth noting that as Muslims cross borders more frequently and interact with other cultures and norms, their world views become more varied. A case in point is the food and beverage industry where demand for Halal food is not necessarily driven by ethnic foods such as curry and kebabs, which are synonymous with Halal fare.
“Worldly and affluent Muslim travellers are now keen to sample things like steaks and European cuisine for example,” says Jumaatun Azmi, Managing Director of KasehDia Sdn Bhd who moderated the discussion.
Held from 3oth March to 4th April 2015 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia, the World Halal Summit (WHS) 2015 was hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia (MITI), and jointly organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC). This inaugural event was supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB). The International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Zilzar.com and Maybank Islamic were WHS 2015’s Strategic Partners. With MasterCard as the Strategic Payment Partner, and Malaysia Airlines as the Official Airline, WHS 2015 was co-organised and managed by Shapers Malaysia Sdn Bhd – the founder of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), Halal Fiesta Malaysia (HALFEST) and now the World Halal Summit.