Halal food made up 16.6% of the total world food market as of 2013, according to the Thompson Reuters report. Up to 2018 the halal food sector is set to grow at an average rate of 6.9% a year, faster than the food sector in general – by 2018, Halal is forecast to make up 17.4% of the world food market.
Dubai eyes Halal trade
Dubai commissioned the report last year, as part of its push to become a global centre for Islamic trade, including plans for an international Halal certification organisation. The UAE emirate is renewing its efforts ahead of the World Islamic Economic Forum, to be held in Dubai in October this year.
“We see opportunities to enhance the Halal food industry. The research finding on Halal food sector is of considerable importance for the UAE food and beverage business, especially since Halal food is a key pillar in the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative launched in 2013. Based on the initiative, Dubai has the capability to create new avenues for growth in this sector, and become an international centre for Halal industry,” said Dubai Chamber chairman HE Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair.
Dubai Chamber also revealed some additional information about Dubai and the UAE’s Halal food trade, which reached US$20bn in value in 2012.
Most of Dubai’s meat trade was in unpackaged meat, at 78.7%, according to Dubai Chamber’s 2013 estimate. Retail sales of meat made up 43.8% of the market, while sales to the food service industry made up 47.9%.
Brazilian meat dominates Dubai
The majority of meat imports into Dubai went to the local market, with only 10% being re-exported in 2013, according to Dubai Customs. In total Dubai imported around 314,000 tonnes of meat, with Brazilian imports making up more than half of all imports, at 166,000 tonnes.
The next biggest provider was the US, at 43,000 tonnes, followed by Australia with 27,000 tonnes of imports in 2013, around 9% of the total. Pakistan and India accounted for 5% of meat imports each, and Ethiopia contributed 3%.
The Dubai Chamber report also said meat consumption in the emirate was fairly inelastic in the face of fluctuating income levels, as meat is a major staple of residents’ diets. But the report said the market had been affected by population changes, prompted by economic factors.
“However, meat imports to Dubai have been driven by increase or decrease in population with imports peaking during the years of rapid economic development of Dubai, especially in 2007 and 2008, and slowing down in 2009 and 2010, when manpower requirement decreased due to the global crisis,” said the report.