Dubai’s Halal Cluster aims to increase market share
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.