‘Signal of opportunities’ in halal market amid pandemic cited

The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is not expected to result a significant drop in Muslim spending on halal food, while non-Muslim consumers are becoming more health-conscious.
“When we say halal, it’s healthy because halal promotes good health and anything that could harm the body, the health of an individual, is not halal….Halal is almost synonymous with organic, it does not use hazardous chemicals that will harm the environment, that is why halal is also environment friendly, it also connotes animal welfare,” Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Investment Promotions Division chief Raison Arobinto said in a webinar.

Arobinto cited effects of Covid-19 particularly on the halal food, including increased food security initiatives, e-commerce delivery and cloud kitchens, and healthy functional clean label foods.

“In terms of our food selections, we are into green, into organic, into a healthier lifestyle. Snacks and meal replacement increased, plant-based foods increased..,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

For food products, Arobinto said opportunities are in the supply chain global shifts.

“…The global value chain of halal has been changing because of the pandemic,” he said. “Another is the halal cloud kitchens; the food delivery, mobile catering services are here.”

He added other “signals of opportunities” amid the pandemic are those in banks’ digitalization and domestic tourism boost.

Arobinto said key drivers are the Muslims fastest growth and youngest population in the world, notable Islamic economy investments, and significant trade in Islamic economy lifestyle products.
“Just imagine the median age among Muslims is 24 versus the 32 median age of the rest of the world. That means Muslim populations are younger generation and actually not only young, they are actually wealthy and therefore they can dictate to the market,” he said.

In travel, another sector of the Islamic economy, Arobinto said those that increased during the pandemic are virtual travel/tours, online ticketing and booking, domestic tourism, and private transport, while hotel and large facilities are doubling as these cater to quarantine centers.

In media and recreation, he said emerging now are contents for children shows, children channels, and animations.

“Then (in) cosmetics, demand for our skin care products, beauty and cleansers is increasing with the pandemic. The demand for eye make-up is rising as we always wear face masks,” Arobinto said.

“With social distancing measures in place, e-commerce platforms have flourished across multiple sectors. Innovative ideas were used by businesses in most sectors to adapt and survive, including virtual fittings (fashion), meal kits (food), and virtual tours (travel),” he added.
Bambuhay founder and chief executive farmer Mark Sultan Gersava said the sector is in the level of industrialization given the “very high” demand.

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