Expanding Blackburn halal food manufacturer KQF has agreed to a series of new deals providing a strong foothold in Europe.
It has just sealed an agreement to sell its products through one of France’s largest hypermarket chains Leclerc, which operates more than 500 stores in France and a further 114 elsewhere in Europe.
This follows similar deals with Alphaprim, which has 11 stores in the Paris suburbs, and distFresh, an independent halal distributor serving 20 key outlets in and around the French capital.
This follows what KQF managing director Faruk Vali described as an ‘exceptional sales month’ in June and a recruitment drive that has seen 12 new staff join the George Street West firm.
The main export to Europe is the Khan Exotique range of halal burgers, kebabs, and sausages, all made to authentic recipes from India and South Africa.
Mr. Vali said: “Leclerc is a very important player in the market. It’s also an excellent strategic partner because it has a high profile and is expanding fast.
“The listing of our products with such a significant retailer gives us an excellent means of introducing our halal-certified convenience foods to a new group of European customers.
“Our research suggests that the European market for halal foods is buoyant. It’s currently worth around $30 billion and the figure is rising by approximately 15 percent a year.
“France has the largest Muslim population in Europe — a little under five million — so we developed a new product range, Khan Exotique, as our way of reaching out to that market. European consumers seem to be responding quite favorably.
“Across Europe, Muslims are increasingly looking for high-quality halal foods that are convenient but also of reliable provenance.
“This is particularly true of a new generation of young, well-informed consumers who — in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and similar problems — want more proof of manufacturers’ halal claims.”