Halal beef products -- products processed and prepared according to Islamic guidelines -- growing in popularity in Asia, industry official says

WASHINGTON , November 25, 2011 () – Halal products represent one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. beef exports. Halal certification, which indicates that products have been processed and prepared according to Islamic guidelines, is required for export to most markets in the Middle East, as well as to Indonesia and Malaysia. But the popularity of halal beef is also growing is some areas in which halal certification is not required for entry, but is in high demand due to customer preference.

Sabrina Yin, USMEF director for the ASEAN region of Southeast Asia, oversees Indonesia and Malaysia for USMEF, where halal certification is strictly required. But in the attached audio report, she discusses the demand for halal beef in markets where it is not required for entry – such as Singapore, which has a growing Muslim population and attracts many tourists from the Middle East, and in southern Thailand near the border with Malaysia. Even in the Philippines, where the national population is heavily Catholic, halal beef is in high demand in the southwestern portion of the country.

While mainland China is currently closed to U.S. beef, halal beef products are also popular there. Joel Haggard, who is based in Hong Kong as the USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region, says that even though halal certification is not required in China, it is increasingly common among beef products.

TRANSCRIPT:

Joe Schuele: This is Joe Schuele with the USMEF report. One of the fastest growing sectors of U.S. beef exports is halal products, which are processed and prepared according to Islamic guidelines. Halal certification is required for exporting in most Middle Eastern countries and also required for Indonesia and Malaysia.

But these products are also in high demand in some countries not because halal certification is required for entry but simply due to customer preference. Sabrina Yin, USMEF Director for Southeast Asia, discusses halal demand in some of her markets such as Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand.

Sabrina Yin: Indonesia and Malaysia are halal countries; definitely beef going there must be halal. Countries like Singapore have a quite good size of Muslim population and we have a lot of Middle East tourists. That is why a lot of fast food will go on halal especially on beef in order to capture the market. McDonalds, Burger King – all these are on halal products. In order to go to Singapore fast food area section with beef, you must go on halal product. Philippines ,even though it is catholic country, down south we do have Muslims and people are looking for halal product and also Thailand. Same with Thailand- down south, the area that close to Malaysia boarder, that is the area that looks for halal product.

Joe Schuele: China is currently closed to U.S. beef, but USMEF Senior Vice President Joel Haggard says halal products are also in high demand there.

Joel Haggard: Just a very interesting thing, most beef slaughtered in China is halal. There is a halal market in China, there are lot of Muslims is China. So mostly big beef plans in China are halal. You see halal market everywhere but it is not a requirement.

Joe Schuele: For more on this or another trade issues, please visit www.usmef.org.

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