Halal certification is important for all processed foods because processing obscures the nature of the ingredients and introduces opportunities for cross-contamination. For example, many French fries would be Halal suitable, as long as they consist of just potatoes, oil, and salt. Most spice blends would also be acceptable. They would not be Halal if they were fried in beef fat that was not certified Halal, nor if they were produced on product lines that also made pork products. In the first case, the consumer might be able to tell if the product was acceptable from the ingredient list, but in the second, they would have no way of knowing. As a result, many Halal consumers avoid any processed food that is not Halal certified. Since frozen food is such broad a category including many kinds of minimally and highly processed products, Halal certification is particularly relevant.
Many frozen food products contain meat, which should always be certified for Halal consumers. While with plant-based products, there is a good chance that uncertified products are still Halal-suitable, whereas meat that is not certified is virtually never Halal. Common meat-containing frozen products such as whole cuts of beef, chicken, or lamb, chicken nuggets and tenders, sausages, and ready-to-heat meals are popular with consumers but will be avoided by those looking for Halal unless they are clearly certified and labeled as such.
International foods are a popular category of frozen foods since many consumers enjoy being able to make quick, convenient meals that are also tasty and interesting. Certain cuisines from Muslim regions of the world are likely to be Halal suitable, such as Indian or Middle Eastern cuisines, but not necessarily. Other cuisines, like Chinese and Mexican, commonly include pork or pork fat, and many Japanese dishes include rice wine or mirin. Consumers looking for Halal options are likely to avoid most unfamiliar options unless they have a Halal seal. Muslim Millennials are especially interested in trying foods from many different cultures, so adding Halal certification to frozen global cuisine products can make your brand an attractive option. It also fits in well with other certifications that Millennial consumers often look for, such as organic and non-GMO.
While international cuisine is a growing sector, Halal certification can benefit any kind of frozen meals or snacks, from pizza to quiche to lasagna. These products offer speed and convenience, and busy consumers will be glad to see assurance that a product meets their standards at a glance, without needing to read the entire label or call the company.
Another important category of frozen foods for Halal certification is ice cream and desserts. Many of these items can be prepared in a Halal suitable manner, but it’s not uncommon for them to contain ingredients that are unacceptable. For example, gelatin is often used in marshmallows and other sweets, and certain cakes and ice creams are traditionally flavored with alcohol, such as tiramisu and rum raisin ice cream. Consumers can look for those things on the label, but sometimes problematic ingredients are more subtle – emulsifiers, flavors, and stabilizers that might be derived from animal products and thus require Halal certification. Read our article on Halal Ice Cream for more information on that topic.
While processed foods and meat are some of the most essential items for Halal certification, other products like frozen fruit and vegetables still benefit. Even if a consumer trusts that frozen peaches or spinach do not contain prohibited substances like pork or alcohol, they may still doubt the conditions in which the product was processed. Halal products must contain only wholesome ingredients and be free from any kind of filth or contamination. The third-party verification that Halal entails assure consumers that the food is pure and good to eat.
If your company produces frozen foods, contact Islamic Services of America today to find out how Halal certification can benefit your business and make your products stand out.