Kosher and Halal to get more mainstream support

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th April 2009

Kosher and Halal foods – as defined by the sacred dietary laws of Judaism and Islam, respectively – must be produced and processed according to standards that typically exceed those imposed by governments around the world. In kosher and halal food production, sanitation requirements are more exacting, supervision is rigorous, inspection is more frequent, prohibitions against certain ingredients and contaminants are stricter, and label information is more forthcoming than required by most global food legislation.

As a result, new research suggests that such standards are driving the increasingly discerning food shopper to choose these products over their mainstream counterparts. The report produced by Packaged Facts – MarketTrend: Kosher- and Halal-Certified Foods in the U.S. – discovered that sales of certified Kosher foods through grocery stores swelled from nearly $150 billion (A$208b) in 2003 to more than $200 billion (A$278b) in 2008, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate twice that of the overall food market.

“… Consumers who are not followers of Judaism or Islam are largely unaware of the specific qualities that distinguish Kosher and Halal from conventional foods,” Packaged Facts Publisher, Tatjana Meerman, noted. “However, factors related to safety, quality, and ‘truth in labeling’ should prompt these mainstream consumers to seek out Kosher/Halal more often, although marketers and third-party certifiers must make a greater effort to educate consumers before that can happen.

“Shoppers already read food labels. So, a Kosher/Halal certification seal should be one of the things they are looking for.”

The potential customer base is vast, and includes the large segment anxious about the safety of the food supply as well as the growing number of people on gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, or other special diets who demand clarity in food labeling. In addition, because the sacred teachings of both Judaism and Islam emphasise respect for the land and living things, kosher and halal foods also address the concerns of the ethical consumerism movement, the report suggests.