COVID-19 leads non-Muslims towards ‘safe’ halal products

6/23/2022 8:35 PM

The demand for halal products from non-Muslim countries increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic as people look for more healthy food sources, according to the head of the Halal Accreditation Agency in Turkey.

Zafer Soylu said the increasing interest in halal standards from non-Muslims was due to the emergence of people searching for safer and healthier food since the pandemic.

"The importance of safe, healthy, clean food has emerged with the pandemic. Especially in the Far East, non-Muslim consumers have started to show high demand for halal-certified products,” Soylu told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Soylu said there was demand in halal standards by non-Muslim countries before COVID but it has grown further ever since.

"People living in non-Muslim countries have resorted to halal certification in order to feel safe. Most of the applications to us are from non-Muslim countries," he said.

Raising the halal standards

Turkey's halal standards are based on 16 guidelines published by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (IOC) Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).  

"These standards seem to contain only Islamic and fiqh rules, but the other aspects of the work we are talking about should not be forgotten," said Soylu.  

"Hygienic, clean, healthy products, not giving false and misleading information to the consumer and even quality are within the scope of halal standards," he added.

Soylu added that halal certification needs to be standardised internationally to make processes more seamless and reduce export costs. He feels it should be based on the 16 standards determined by SMIIC.

"International trade should run on the basis of these standards. The halal certificate issued in one country must be valid in other countries under normal conditions,” said Soylu  

The global halal market was valued at 7.2 trillion in 2020.

Halal certification is not just used in food but also cosmetics, chemical and cleaning products, agricultural products, energy, tourism and finance.