Special Report: Recent food festival set to boost Halal food industry

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A Halal food festival has recently been held in Bangkok in a bid to help bolster the local halal food industry.

The Bangkok Halal 2014 Food Festival was held jointly by the Satthachon Foundation and the Yateen television station between April 18-20, with an aim to encourage new entrepreneurs to enter the field and to raise funds for orphans under the foundation. 

According to organizers, up to 50 vendors participated in the event, setting up over 100 booths offering a wide range of food to visitors at Huamark Stadium.

There are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, which represents 23% of the global population and that number is expected to increase in 2020, when the percentage of the Muslim global population will increase to 25%. In addition, approximately 20% of Muslims worldwide live in Asia, mostly in Indonesia.

Thailand is ranked as the 8th most popular destination for Muslims. Thailand’s popularity is well-known among visitors from Malaysia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Russia, China, France, Thailand and Italy.

The availability of halal food is also one of key elements to help promoting Muslim tourism in Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia are major importers of Thai’s halal products due to the strength of the agricultural sector in the country.

The government is determined to promote Thailand as the World’s Muslim Kitchen, with a project to establish a halal industrial estate in Songkhla, while the major tourist cities of Phuket and Chiang Mai are also preparing to capitalize on the growth in halal industries.

All food products potentially developed as Halal food have a market value worldwide of around US$680 billion annually, or 76 per cent of the world’s food trade, which accounts to over US$880 billion. The Halal market tends to continually increase as a result of the growing purchasing power of the population in Islamic countries.

In Thailand, more than a quarter of food factories are already making halal products. The government has implemented measures to raise Halal services and production standards, standardizing approval processes of Halal products, developing marketing strategies to international level, researching Halal science and managing the business to build up strength of the country’s Halal industry and trade.

The general understanding is that halal products should not be contaminated with pork or alcohol and that livestock is slaughtered in accordance with Islamic Shariah law. Similar to kosher practices, Islam requires that the animal be killed with a single slash to the throat while alive. It is intended as a way for animals to die swiftly and minimize their pain.