This month, on October 23rd and 24th, the second edition of an event that has already become one of the largest and most significant in Brazil on the Halal market will take place in São Paulo: the Global Halal Brazil Business Forum. Experts, authorities, and entrepreneurs from Brazil and other countries will engage in important exchanges of information and experiences – something that those interested in learning more about this subject cannot miss.
We refer to Halal as what the Islamic religion considers permissible for the use and consumption of Muslims. This concept applies to food and beverages, as well as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, clothing, tourism, and finance.
However, for a product, for example, to be considered Halal, it must go through a certification process. This is a rigorous process to prove that the item truly contains nothing that could pose a health or safety risk to consumers.
Halal products cannot contain anything in their composition that is not permitted for consumption according to Islamic guidelines – and this is verified through laboratory tests. In their production process, they also cannot involve anything that would harm the soil, compromise natural resources, or involve the use of slave labor. Even in the case of animal protein, specific guidelines must be followed for slaughter.
But that’s not all: to obtain Halal certification, it is desirable to adopt fair trade policies – with a portion of profits going towards social and environmental initiatives.
Do these requirements seem like current demands from consumers who are becoming more conscious and want to consume products and services from brands committed to society and the environment? Yes! That is why Halal has ceased to be a religious requirement solely for Muslims and has been arousing the interest of an increasing number of people worldwide.
The concept of Halal has many similarities to ESG, an acronym in English that stands for “environmental, social, and governance.” This concept, that is so popular in companies, involves a company’s environmental, social, and governance practices.
Many organizations already know that there are consumers today who do not base their product or service choices solely on price and quality. They want more: they balance their needs and desires with the sustainability of life on the planet. And companies that do not adapt to this new reality may compromise their survival.
Such companies also risk becoming less attractive to young professionals: a recent study by Accenture Strategy & Consulting showed that 88% of Brazilians between the ages of 15 and 39 want to work in organizations aligned with ESG practices in the next 10 years. This requirement aligns with other expectations, such as a salary compatible with the role, stability, and opportunities for growth.
In general, Brazilians know little about Halal because Muslims are a religious minority in Brazil – globally, they number nearly 2 billion. But our country is a powerhouse in this market – and could grow even more: we are among the top five suppliers of food and beverages to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which comprises 57 countries.
In 2022, the OIC imported a little over $220 billion in Halal products. Of this amount, $23.4 billion comes from Brazilian products. The highlight is Halal chicken. According to the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), in 2022, Brazil exported a total of 1.983 million tons of Halal chicken to the Islamic market, a volume 3.6% higher than in 2021, when 1.915 million tons were exported. In terms of revenue, it amounted to $3.869 billion, a 29.1% increase compared to 2021, when it reached $2.997 billion.
Therefore, a country like Brazil – which needs to increase its exports and generate more jobs – cannot ignore the Halal market. This is a promising and already established path, with real growth opportunities for Brazilian companies.
But the reflection goes far beyond large figures, reminding us that projections indicate that the consumption of Halal products and services could reach $2.8 trillion in 2025. There is a worldwide desire for sustainability, health, and safety – something that has become even more evident after the pandemic. Halal is a response in this regard. It is an universal certification that benefits all of humanity.