Images of Halal: A Traveler's Perspective on the Halal Market in Germany and Singapore

Images of Halal: A Traveler's Perspective on the Halal Market in Germany and Singapore

Noha El-Bassiouny (The German University in Cairo, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2796-1.ch009

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to delve into exploring the status of halal products between the East and West through a qualitative introspect from the view point of a Muslim traveler. The research takes an exploratory interpretivist approach by employing a comparative study utilizing observation and content analysis of visuals related to halal brands in one Eastern and one Western country with considerable Muslim populations; namely Singapore and Germany. The results show that despite the potential of the halal market in Germany, it is yet to become integrated in mainstream retailing, whereas in Singapore, the market is developed and shows high levels of stringency in the halal certification and retailing process.
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Introduction

The Muslim population throughout the world was estimated at 1.588 billion in 2010, the vast majority of whom (985.53 million) live in Asia. In the Middle East and North Africa, there are 317.07 million Muslims, making this region the second most populated Muslim region in the world. The third largest Muslim community lives in sub-Saharan Africa which is home to 248.11 million people…. Muslim markets are expanding and it is estimated that the annual world Halal food trade exceeds USD150 billion. The global Halal food market in the year 2010 was valued at USD661 billion, and in 2012, combined with the Halal lifestyle, that industry was worth $1.62 trillion, the prediction being that it will reach $2.47 trillion by 2018. (Mohd et al., 2016, p. 1)

The concept of halal in practice has extended beyond food products to encompass products like cosmetics, fashion, and tourism services (Aoun & Tournois, 2015; Annabi & Ibidapo-Obe, 2017). Research on halal products has concurrently expanded (Thomas & Selimovic, 2015). The recent interest in halal brands has been substantiated in practice with the Noor Brand Index, among other assessments and reports conducted by Ogilvy Noor (cf. “Ogilvy Publishes Index of Muslim Friendly Brands”, 2010).

According to Tieman (2015: 2-3), “the halal industry is expanding rapidly [and] there are more than 400 known (mostly unaccredited) halal certification bodies (HCBs) and organisations in the world, leading to confusion, misunderstanding in the halal audit and certification process and abuse of the halal logo… As HCBs in most countries are not accredited by the government, the credibility of private HCBs is a growing concern …. Therefore, the Muslim consumer is not well-protected as compared to other quality marks, like organic and fair trade” (cf. Ahmed, 2008). Such connotation is particular since previous research documents the importance of halal labeling and the fact that some shoppers look for “suitable for vegetarian” label for example in labeled food products to indicate also consistency with the halal (Jamal & Sharifuddin, 2015: 934). According to Annabi and Ibidapo-Obe (2017), “the emphasis on the importance of halal-compliant products demands more transparency in the halal supply chain” (p. 170).

The purpose of this research is to delve into exploring the status of halal products between the East and West through a qualitative introspect from the view point of a Muslim traveler. The research takes an exploratory interpretivist approach by employing a comparative study utilizing observation and content analysis of visuals related to halal brands in one Eastern and one Western country with considerable Muslim populations; namely Singapore and Germany.

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The Halal Market In Singapore And Germany

In South-East Asia, there are around 250 million consumers using halal products (Tauber, 2011). Singapore is known to have an established halal market where Muslims are around 15% of the population (Consumer, n.d.). According to Tauber (2011), Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia are among the countries that have an established system for halal certification that is associated with a corresponding legal system, i.e. under an overarching authority. This authority is the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, MUIS (Consumer, n.d.). In these countries, halal product perceptions are also associated with quality and health.

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