Halal food growth in consumption and agro-food system in Lombardy: what is the connection?

Hundreds of “Made in Italy” food companies based in Lombardy are planning to start or increase their export activities. More and more concrete opportunities of covering new markets have been announced during the Sixth Convention dedicated to Halal, which took place in Malaysia on 30th and 31st March 2015, organized by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, JAKIM.

“The global Halal food industry continues to develop as a powerful market force in the international trade” writes Datuk Dr Wong Lai Sum, Chief Executive Officer MATRADE, but there are good news for the food industries based in Lombardy. The huge Halal market is estimated as US$ 2.3 trillion, catering the need of 2.1 billion Muslims and the demand from non-Muslims markets expected to expand, Euromonitor Report confirms.

Halal means literally “permitted” or “lawful”. So when we are talking about halal foods it means any foods that are allowed to be consumed according to Islamic Sharia law.

Halal food has been subjected to approved certification systems which guarantee to consumers that nothing in the food has any forbidden components or proceedings.

Halal food is perceived as healthy and correct, but there is a growing need of state-of-the-art, trendy food, addressed to gourmet and lifestyle urban niches. In a word, there is a growing number of consumers intending to buy Halal food, but looking for delicatessen, taste and high quality of ingredients. Apart from pork, of course, most of the Italian food excellence can be certified as Halal, also because of the high level of security of our food industry and the controls being very frequent and strict.

Halal represents an opportunity for food producers and is not limited to the traditional range of products and to countries with a majority of Muslims: dairy products, sweet and confectionery, preserves are just an example of categories where Lombardy developed an astonishing numbers of small businesses and brands. Some of them are already prepared and specialized in special or dietetic food (especially gluten-free, where Il Pane di Anna can be considered an example). Lombardy has a powerful and established food industry, representing alone more than 15% of the Italian added value of the sector and is ready to comply with the most demanding regulations.

The speculations about a Halal food hub in Italy, together with the amazing network of suppliers, sub suppliers, universities and centers of academic excellence (such as Parco Tecnologico Padano) and experts are making Lombardy more attractive for foreign investments.


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