Excerpt from Halal Boosts US Economy & Exports, 22 June 2012
: Halal foods comprise one of the fastest developing consumer markets in the United States of America. Halal consumers spent $15 billion on food items and related services in 2011. This phenomenal growth is reflected in the number of stores selling halal meat – from 10 outlets in 1970 to over 2300 in 2012 (based on data compiled by Zabihah.com
and the White Pages). In addition, there are now over 6900 restaurants serving halal consumers. The halal market has created tens of thousands of American jobs, according to IFANCA research.
The growth in halal food service can be traced to multiple, yet interconnected, factors. Restaurants serving halal have undoubtedly seen business boom as a result of efforts to keep up with the demand generated by the rising numbers of halal consumers. The diverse tastes of halal consumers, however, have also stimulated the development of halal cuisine beyond the traditional halal menu. In US metro’s, it is fairly common now to find halal American, Italian and Mexican food served in addition to Middle Eastern, South Asian and Turkish dishes. The availability of different ethnic foods has been embraced by the general population with equal enthusiasm, and consequently, has further driven growth in the halal market. With the increasing number of US college bound halal consumers, many of whom are actively asking for halal, there has been changes in food service on campuses as well. The University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Bradley University, Buffalo University are amongst several schools that, today, offer halal food choices.
US exports have contributed to the growth of the US halal industry as well. Today, over 90% of US dry dairy ingredients manufacturers produce halal products for export.
US beef exports to the Middle East region alone gained 36%, and were valued at $355 million in 2011. In February 2012, the latest month for which data is available as of this writing, exports to the region increased 13 percent in volume and 19 percent in value i.e. by $53.3 million. The Middle East region is going to become even more important in the future since it imports between 80% -90 % of its food requirements.
According to the National Chicken Council there are about sixty five plants with halal capability out of more than three hundred in the US. Translated into jobs this means that there are around sixty three thousand directly affected and about forty two thousand indirectly affected jobs in the halal broiler chicken sector alone. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of jobs are associated with the beef, lamb, and goat industry in the US.
Fresh meats continue to be undersupplied in the Middle East as well as in other Muslim-majority countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. These importers have found the US market to be a reliable supplier of authentic halal food and ingredients and have increased their imports. Unlike some of its emerging competitors, the US has higher food safety and hygiene standards. Cumulatively, halal consumers at home and abroad have contributed to the employment of millions of Americans in the beef, poultry, lamb, dairy ingredients, nutritional foods and nutritional supplement industries.
With an annual growth rate of 10 – 15%, the halal food market will exceed $20 billion by 2015. This is fueled by an expanding population of Muslims as well as increasing acceptance of halal as the meat of choice, by those of other faiths. According to a recent Pew report, the US Muslim population will grow from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million by 2030. IFANCA estimates the US Muslim population at 8 million today and doubling by 2030. The non-Muslim halal consumption growth rate can be attributed to the demand for safe, hygienic and humanely produced foods and the realization that halal certified products meet those needs.
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