Egyptian producers look to expand Halal exports

13 November 2012
ITC News
Egyptian companies should exploit market opportunities in Halal food and related products in Asia and Africa and capture more of the US$ 600 billion market, concluded participants at a forum held in Cairo last month.

The forum was organized by ITC’s Enhancing Arab Capacity for Trade (EnACT) programme, in collaboration with the Egyptian Organisation for Standardization and Quality (EOS) and the Food Export Council (FEC).
Government and private sector representatives from Morocco, Turkey, Algeria and Malaysia shared their requirements and experiences with the Egyptian participants, focusing on the need for Halal standards and certification.

Discussions also focused on Halal dietary guidelines, which are not limited to meat products but also include confectionary, snacks, beverages and chocolates, and require foods to be wholesome and nutritious while meeting high standards of hygiene and sanitation. Non-food sectors such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and leather can also comply with Halal principles by ensuring products are organic, fair trade and environmentally friendly.

Egypt has traditionally exported Halal products to North American and European markets, which –while growing – are much smaller than Halal markets in South and South East Asia and the Middle East. It is estimated that there are 1.7 billion customers for Halal products worldwide, many of them middle class with growing purchasing power. Egypt has only a small market share in the Asian Halal market due to the fact that Egyptian products lack Halal branding and packaging, as well as the certification that ensures quality and standards. Players from every sector of the industry, from the huge multinationals, including Nestlé, Garnier, Tesco and Colgate, down to small enterprises, are looking to capture a share of this growing market.

ITC’s EnACT programme, financed by the Canadian government, is working with Egyptian companies to grow their presence in the more dynamic markets in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
There was strong participation at the forum from the Egyptian private sector with companies recognising that certifying and branding their products as Halal is an important marketing tool and, if they act swiftly, will enable them to capture new markets before the competition.

It was recommended that Egypt should map all Halal certificates worldwide and find out the requirements of individual countries in order to certify Egyptian products as Halal. Egyptian companies wanting to expand their Halal exports should also look into quality, standards and packaging for their target markets and brand their products according to the tastes of these markets, participants concluded.