UAE awarded top spot in rankings of halal food ecosystem

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
The UAE has come first in an authoritative new ranking of global nations with the best developed halal food ecosystems.

The annual Thomson Reuters report on the global Islamic economy placed Australia and Pakistan second and third through a system that awards points according to supply drivers relative to country size, halal governance, promotion efforts and food pricing. 

The UAE gained top spot in the news organisation’s Halal Food Indicator due to “a significant strengthening of its regulatory oversight of the halal food industry, and a vast improvement in awareness, driven by strong publicity​”.

The report estimated that halal-certified foods alone accounted for US$415bn of sales in 2015, out of an overall market currently valued at US$1.17tr. This, in turn, is predicted to grow at an average annualised rate of 9% until 2021.

However established this sector becomes, there seems to always be further room for growth and opportunity​,” the report’s authors wrote, adding that they expected consumer spending to increase by almost one-fifth in the coming years.

[Its] growth shows no sign of slowing down as this report estimates Muslim food and beverage expenditure to grow to US$1.9tr by 2021​. 

With creative innovations taking place, such as a Ramadan energy bar, and many opportunities to tap into high-potential segments such as halal baby food, the halal food sector proves it will remain a flourishing sector for many years to come​.”

According to Thomson Reuters’ Halal Food Indicator, the UAE overtook Malaysia as the leading halal ecosystem following a “significant strengthening​” of its regulatory oversight of the halal food industry, and a vast improvement in its awareness score, driven by strong publicity.

Australia leapfrogged Pakistan in the rankings “due to it maintaining a high level of exports, while also increasing awareness of and publicity for halal food​”.

Though overtaken, Pakistan nevertheless occupies a strong third position, and was credited for having maintained low food prices, relatively strong regulation and a growing certification ecosystem. 

The collective Muslim food economy’s expected 2021 value will rank it first in terms of market worth, followed by nations such as China (US$854bn), America (US$770bn), Japan (US$380bn), and India (US$341bn). 

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, spent the most on halal food in 2015, at US$155bn. Other leading countries included Turkey (US$116bn), Egypt (US$78bn) and Saudi Arabia (US$48bn).

Besides first place in the Halal Food Indicator the UAE also topped the halal rankings for modest fashion, halal travel, media and recreation, and pharmaceuticals/cosmetics. Taking into account all categories, the country was awarded second place, behind Malaysia.

Relative to its size the UAE has established a very healthy ecosystem for Islamic Economy companies​,” the authors concluded. “The strong government-led Islamic economy development initiatives has given the UAE a strong platform for the development of all halal sectors​.”

Related topics: Markets, Middle East, Industry growth

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