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Demand for Halal Convenience Products in UK Drives Innovation

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The global market for halal food was valued at US $2194.8 billion in 2022 by Vantage Market Research, with sales projected to hit $6044.5 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate) (CAGR) of 13.5% between 2023 and 2030.

“The market is currently undergoing a remarkable expansion, propelled by key factors that underscore the its dynamism,” said Ashley Hancock, market researcher at Vantage Market Research. “Chief among these factors is the sustained growth of the Muslim population, anticipated to reach 2.8 billion by 2050. This demographic trend is complemented by an expanding base of consumers showing a heightened interest in halal products, coupled with a noticeable rise in disposable incomes in several Muslim-majority nations.”

The increase in demand for halal products in the United Kingdom can be attributed to the increasing number of Muslims. According to the 2021 Census, the Muslim population in England and Wales stood at 3.87 million, or 6.5% of the total. Between the decade to 2021, the overall population in England and Wales grew by 3.52 million, with Muslim communities increasing by 1.16 million, contributing to 33% of the increase.

“Spending in the UK halal food and beverage industry in 2016 reached an estimated £4.64 billion, or 8% of the total food and drink spend,” said Awal Fuseini, halal sector senior manager at AHDB. “Halal consumers eat more meat per capita than the general population, and although Muslims account for just under 5% of the UK population, they account for an estimated 20% of lamb consumption in England alone.”

Market Trends

According Vantage Market Research, demand for convenient halal food items has surged, driven by both globalization and urbanization. The rise in more modern lifestyles has increased appetites for halal products among more diverse consumer segments. This is attributed to tourism and the growing accessibility of halal products in the retail sector.

“As the middle class in Muslim-majority countries expands, the demand for high quality halal food products is rising,” said Hancock. “Indonesia, for example, is expected to see a significant increase in its middle class population, leading to a greater demand for convenient halal food options. Globalization and urbanization have led to a rise in the halal food market as Muslims in urban areas seek convenient options. This trend is evident in the UK, where the growing Muslim population drives the demand for halal products in mainstream retail stores.”

Increased awareness of halal food products now extends beyond adherents to Islamic dietary law. In Japan, for example, Muslim and non-Muslim consumers are increasingly demanding halal food options thanks to tourism and Muslim expatriates.

Furthermore, Vantage Market Research also highlights interest in halal food from health conscious consumers as these products are perceived to be healthier and more wholesome options due to the strict meat processing guidelines.

Important Demographic

As the Muslim community continues to grow at a rapid rate, this demographic and the importance of halal food products should not be overlooked by retailers and foodservice outlets.

“Increasing demand for quick, easy halal-certified food options presents an opportunity for more frozen food producers to enter this market and for greater innovation,” said Rupert Ashby, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation. “Manufacturers and retailers should focus on attracting Muslim consumers who may not previously have considered the frozen aisle due to lack of choice. As the halal market is still relatively small in comparison to the non-halal market, manufacturers can gain a competitive edge, with halal certification being a key differentiator to set your products apart from the rest.

“Additionally, foodservice outlets should embrace diverse dietary preferences and cultural differences to create a menu that is fully inclusive. Catering to a wider audience will help attract the largest customer pool and improve your brand reputation.”

Innovative Products

Consumers have been hit by global health and geopolitical troubles over the last few years, wit the coronavirus pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war impacting the many finances of many people. That coupled with rising utility costs and the current economic downturn in the UK, food shoppers are more budget conscious than ever. This saw the frozen aisles in supermarkets and grocery stores experiencing higher footfall as shoppers searched for better value for money deals to help stretch their budgets further.

“As a result, halal frozen food innovations grew, with more delicious yet affordable products hitting the shelves,” said Ashby. “We are seeing innovations in flavors and cuisines. For example, Jahan’s Southern Fried Chicken Strips offer a taste of the USA and Tahira’s Beef Lasagne combines halal meat with traditional Italian cuisine.”

Both of the products above are available at Asda and Sainsbury’s stores. Sainsbury’s halal product offerings include hot and spicy chicken wings under the Azeem brand and Tahira peri peri chicken grills. Asda’s range of halal products includes Shazans-branded meat samosas.

Iceland has 35 dedicated Al Halal stores in the UK, and the majority of its shops have an extensive selection of halal products available in store. Some of its most popular halal products include parathas, samosas, sausages and kebabs.

“Historically, halal sales were predominantly focused on home cooking but, in recent years, we’ve seen a real shift toward more quick-to-make and convenient products, including popcorn chicken, chicken strips and chicken chunks,” said an Iceland spokesperson.

Brakes UK has 100 halal meat and poultry products across chicken, beef, lamb, frozen value-added chicken and turkey. According to the wholesaler, halal products tend to replicate their non-halal equivalents, with value added items, such as chicken nuggets, breaded fillets and chicken strips, being some of its best-selling lines.

“It is particularly popular in areas such as education and healthcare, where it is helpful to be able to use one product which meets a number of dietary requirements,” explained Michael Nelson, senior category manager for meat, poultry and meat-free alternatives at Brakes. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in casual dining options, with halal burgers and halal chicken wings becoming increasingly popular.”
As a result, Brakes has been actively driving new product development in this area, for example, with the recent launch of a gourmet halal chicken meatball (pictured below), which is proving very popular.

“The UK demand is increasing along with the variety of frozen halal meat options available,” said Ashby. “However, the world foods section of the frozen aisle could still improve on diversification and innovation. There is a huge opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to take advantage of this growing market.”

– Reported by Sarah Welsh