Photo: Mateusz Gzik / Shutterstock.com
Ready-to-eat chicken snack packs, halal sushi and mocktails are some of the trends that are taking the halal food space by storm.
Most halal food entrepreneurs target Millennial Muslims, but they have quickly realised that the requirements of this consumer segment shift constantly. Some want more options; others want to go organic; many are interested in where the food is sourced from, what the animal was fed and how it was killed. Second- and third-generation Muslims in the UK have broad culinary horizons, and halal-food entrepreneurs are constantly working to meet their demands.
FOOD ON THE GO
Noman Khawaja, co-founder of UK-based Haloodies, believes that convenience and health are the most important factors for Millennials. “The food-on-the-go market is growing overall, and halal consumers are living busy lives that also require convenience in food choices. At the same time, the product must be healthy and of good quality. We made sure our products are 100 per cent chicken breast, ready-to-eat, and in a range of flavours to keep up with their maturing palates.”
Photo: Imran Kausar (left) and Noman Khawaja (right), co-founders of Haloodies, showcasing their new offerings at London Halal Food Festival 2017 / Photo by Anam Rizvi
The food entrepreneur conceptualised the idea based on data from Kantar research as well from their experiences of not being able to find quality halal products in the past, especially at university. Today, Haloodies has plans to launch a Haloodies2Go snack range aimed specifically at those who lead busy lives but need healthy products on the go.
“Food-to-go is a phenomenally growing area. The market overall in the UK is expected to grow by 35 per cent and reach £21 billion by 2021. With Muslims making up 5 per cent of the population currently (2011 Census) and growing, they will be a part of the same trend, and their needs must be met,” he added.
In 2014, the halal food industry in UK was valued at over £3 billion, according to the Muslim Council of Britain. Students and young families demand fresh, tasty and organic food, and they are encouraging the industry and entrepreneurs to introduce new cuisines.
NOT JUST CURRY AND KEBABS
As the demand rises, entrepreneurs are focusing on Japanese, Mexican, Caribbean and South American cuisines thanks to an ever-increasing number of young Muslims travellers who have discovered new palates.
Photo: Yaki Maki Sushi Burrito at the London Halal Food Festival 2016 / Courtesy of London Halal Food Festival
“Young people travel and see the world, and when they come home they want to be able to experience it at home as well. Their horizons have expanded, and this stimulates them to take their entrepreneurial spirit and do something about it,” said Imran Kausar, co-founder of Haloodies. Many young people are thus also inspired to start their own food ventures.
While ready-made Jamaican patties have been available in UK for 16 years, other options in halal Caribbean food are only just making an appearance. According to Aaron Johnston, Marketing Director at Port Royal, a Jamaican patty company, many Jamaican takeaways have switched to halal meat.
Muslims in London can treat themselves to halal sushi, venison, pheasant, duck and ostrich, and halal Angus sirloin steak, Korean chicken wings and Matcha soft-serve ice creams are all available as well. La Sophia is one of the few halal French restaurants in the capital, and demand is always high.
Photo: Ice cream truck at London Halal Food Festival 2016 / Courtesy of London Halal Food Festival
If you don’t want a fizzy drink or to splurge on mocktails at a restaurant, then your options are limited: halal mocktails are very rare. Shahin Hussain noticed this gap in the market, and with her husband Anwar, she founded The Mocktail Company last year in UK.
“People are much more assertive now about their choices,” said Shahin. “The reception we got is amazing. We have targeted the Muslim market, and they are buying. People don’t want typical soft drinks. We came up with the concept we felt there was a need for.”
Photo: Nojito by The Mocktail Company
The Mocktail Company sold over 200,000 bottles of ready-made drinks in the UK within a year and is now expanding into Europe and North America. Millennials and families in the UK are their main targets, but the couple is happy about the attention they are receiving from other countries. The drinks are available in Luxembourg and have gained interest in Canada, the US, France, Dubai and Morocco.
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