Dubai’s Halal Cluster aims to increase market share

Friday 25/09/2015
Abdulla BelHoul of Dubai Industrial City.

Dubai - Dubai Industrial City, one of the largest specialised industrial hubs in the United Arab Emirates, has launched a special cluster dedicated to halal prod­ucts, a move aimed at driving the growth of the food, cosmetics and personal care sectors, compliant with requirements of many Muslim consumers.
“The creation of the Halal Clus­ter falls in line with the strategic vi­sion of Dubai to become the capital of Islamic economy,” Abdulla Bel­Houl, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, said in an interview with The Arab Weekly.
“Our offerings provide integrat­ed solutions and an enabling en­vironment for the halal industry, addressing its needs and require­ments.”
Covering 622,450 square metres, the Halal Cluster offers a specific set of products for investors, in­cluding a fully separated industrial block to facilitate business, Bel­Houl explained.
“This is complemented by the In­dustrial City’s general offerings like logistical support, accommodation and ready to use warehouses and showrooms, thereby providing an enabling environment to business partners,” he added.
Dubai Industrial City, which en­compasses 52.03 million square metres, is next to Al Maktoum In­ternational Airport and is close to Jebel Ali Port, providing easy ac­cess to transportation points via road, air and sea.
According to a Dubai Industrial City market analysis, the halal-compliant market of products is growing globally, with Muslim consumers spending more than $1 trillion on food and more than $26 billion on cosmetics and personal care every year. The analysis also found that expenditures within the markets were expected to increase to $1.6 trillion and $39 billion, re­spectively, by 2018.
BelHoul contends that the crea­tion of the cluster “is aimed at opening up many opportunities for the involvement of halal-oriented businesses and the diversification of halal products”.
The Middle East’s large Muslim population makes it an attractive destination for halal industries. The food market witnessed an es­timated $85 billion expenditure solely in Gulf Cooperation Council countries and $237 billion in the other Middle Eastern nations in 2014, BelHoul said.
Businesses certified to be com­plying with Islamic requirements will inevitably boost the attractive­ness of their products or service to Muslim consumers, whose popula­tion stands as the second-largest worldwide and is projected to in­creasingly claim a bigger share of the world’s consumer spending, according to Euromonitor Interna­tional, a London-based market in­telligence firm.
The UAE’s plans include attract­ing more companies to the cluster, educating businesses about the national halal mark and promot­ing these efforts through a strate­gic partnership with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma).
BelHoul said the agreement with Esma set out a framework for the preparation and sustained imple­mentation of an awareness cam­paign with respect to the national brand of halal in the region.
“Esma and Dubai Industrial City will work together to reach out and familiarise all relevant manufac­turing firms in the UAE with the halal mark in addition to raising awareness about the process need­ed to obtain such a designation,” BelHoul said.
“As the market experiences growth in the upcoming years, it is important for businesses, specifi­cally in this region, to adapt and be aware of these rising opportunities in order to get involved,” he added.
In October 2014, Esma rolled out the mandatory UAE standard for the halal mark. According to the regulation, the halal certificate is a document guaranteeing that the product, service or their respec­tive schemes are compliant with sharia.
This includes certificates for halal slaughtering and halal es­tablishments, such as farms and slaughterhouses, as well as halal certificates of raw food materials, food additives, ingredients with meat derivatives, extracts, as well as animal smells, gelatin, fats, oils and their derivatives.
Prapti Rai, quality manager for Barakat Quality Plus, a leading manufacturer of fresh fruit and vegetable products, noted that the halal certificate was not just about the product but a guarantor of a whole process, including hygiene.
Dubai is eyeing the title of “Capital of Islamic Economy”, as stated by Environment and Water Minister Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, who is also Esma chairman.
“The UAE scheme for halal prod­ucts is the first of its kind at the Arab and Gulf levels and supports a strategic initiative for developing the Islamic economy sector,” bin Fahad said in a recent declaration.