The halal industry is big business. Marketeers put a lot of efforts into understanding what halal actually means in order to have a thorough understanding of the Muslim consumer’s needs and preferences. Halal refers to things or actions that are in compliance with the Shariah or Islamic law. In other words, it gives Muslims guidance in determining which products or services fulfill Islamic laws and norms.
Unfortunately, there is still a persistent misconception of halal being merely a reference to what Muslims are allowed to eat. However, halal is more. Halal is lifestyle. It is a coherent parameter designed for health, safety and human well-being. With a set of practices, it offers Muslims navigation regarding different themes such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, logistics, clothing, finance, hospitality and banking. And let it be this exact same industry that has exploded in the past decade, being a major business success for many international companies.
Just like any other lifestyle (Bio, Light, Gluten-free, etc.), brands should also be committed and open to invest in halal. This can be done by offering Muslim-friendly versions of products with just minimal to no changes to their production or ingredients. By doing the latter, companies can appeal to an interesting and lucrative consumer segment, which in turn can cultivate long-term brand loyalty. In Belgium, Sirop de Liège, a well-known fruit syrup made of stewed apples, dates, and pears, introduced a halal certification since August 2015. This action would confirm to Muslim consumers that the product does not contain ingredients prohibited under Islamic principles. An important note: the recipe stayed exactly the same! Meanwhile, 1,200 other Belgian products already acquired a halal certification, including French fries, waffles, burgers, non-alcoholic beer, and chocolate.
As these examples illustrate, it could be very fruitful to reach out to Muslim consumers by offering them a lifestyle that fits their personal needs. If companies succeed in projecting this lifestyle in their transparent provision of products, it will prove they have their best interests at heart. A true example of a -halal-winning marketing strategy…
Hussain, N. (2010). A little empathy goes a long way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer: Ogilvynoor. || Mohd Yusof, Y. L., & Wan Jusoh, W. J. (2014). Islamic Branding: The Understanding and Perception. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 130, 179 – 185. || Holehouse, M. (2015). Belgian fruit syrup faces boycott calls over halal labelling. The Telegraph.