Russia’s food quality regulatory body, Roskachestvo, is taking significant steps to streamline and standardize halal certification procedures in the country. Maxim Protasov, the head of the watchdog, recently announced the accreditation of a domestic agency, named Roskachestvo-Halal, which will undertake the certification of halal products starting May 2023.
With Russia’s substantial Muslim diaspora, which includes a large number of ethnic Azerbaijanis involved in the national food supply chain, there is an increased demand for halal-certified goods. The establishment of Roskachestvo-Halal is expected to cater to this demand. It is estimated that about 100 companies will apply for the halal label by the year’s end, demonstrating the growing preference for these products.
The Russian government has broad plans for halal certification beyond food products. It intends to extend the process to the service sector as well, including industries like catering, tourism, hotels, financial services, and medical services. Such a move will elevate the quality of halal products and services within Russia, subsequently boosting consumer confidence both nationally and internationally.
In previous years, various Russian companies voluntarily sought halal certification to begin the production of food carrying the halal label. The appeal of halal products has been on a steady rise, with local producers adopting Muslim standards that ensure food products do not contain antibiotics and soybeans. The Russian veterinary regulator, Rosselhoznadzor, calculated that halal products constituted about 10% of the Russian food market in 2022.
On a global scale, halal products comprise 35% of all meat exports. With Saudi Arabia being the world’s largest buyer, purchasing halal meat worth an average of $1.2 billion per year, the potential for growth in this sector is evident.
In line with these global trends, Russia adopted its first nationwide halal standards in February. This strategic move is part of the country’s efforts to enhance food exports to Muslim countries. Over the past three years, Russia has already managed to double the supply of halal standard products. In 2021 alone, Russia exported halal products worth a record US$180 million to the Persian Gulf, primarily to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
As part of its strategic growth plan, Russia aims to increase the exports of its halal products to Muslim countries to US$400 million by 2024, with a further goal of reaching US$700 million by 2030. This demonstrates Russia’s commitment to expanding its footprint in the global halal market, reinforcing its position as a key player in this burgeoning sector.
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