Bosnia, a key player in the European halal food industry, is strategically leveraging its geographical advantage to boost its halal food exports to the expanding Muslim population in Europe.
As a prominent Balkan nation with a significant Muslim demographic, Bosnia has carved a niche for itself as a pivotal hub for halal products in the region. It pioneered one of the first European agencies dedicated to halal quality certification back in 2006. This innovative step has catalyzed the adoption of halal standards across various sectors in Bosnia, including banking, food production, and hospitality. These sectors are now successfully tapping into a burgeoning market, driven by an increase in tourists from the Gulf countries and flourishing trade ties with the Arab world.
Damir Alihodzic, the head of Bosnia’s Agency for Halal Quality Certification, underscored the potential of the European halal market. He pointed out that despite the substantial Muslim population in Europe, there is a dearth of halal-certified products, presenting a significant opportunity for Bosnian producers.
The global halal food market, catering to an estimated 1.9 billion consumers, was valued at a staggering $1.27 trillion in 2021. The 2022 Global Islamic Economy report predicts this market to surge to $1.67 trillion by 2025.
Halal certification is a testament to a product’s adherence to Islamic Sharia law. It ensures the product is devoid of any traces of pork, alcohol, or blood, and is produced on factory lines that are meticulously maintained to prevent any risk of contamination.
Under Alihodzic’s leadership, the agency has granted halal certification to 110 local companies, 80% of which are food producers. The Bosnian halal industry, employing around 10,000 individuals, has been witnessing an impressive annual growth rate of 15%-20%. It has certified approximately 7,000 products as halal and exports them globally.
At the Sarajevo Halal Fair, Alihodzic urged Bosnian producers to seize the opportunity presented by the demand in Europe. Abdel Halim Abdin of Jordan’s Chamber of Industry echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Bosnia’s crucial role in propagating halal products in Europe owing to its central location.
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