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Halal consumers feel underserved by food manufacturers and retailers: study

More than two thirds of Halal shoppers feel CPGs don’t meet their needs

Halal food and beverage is predicted to be a global US$1.6 trillion industry within the next three years, yet Canadian halal shoppers feel they are not being well served by either food manufacturers or major grocery chains.

These are among the findings of a new study into the halal market conducted by newly rebranded Toronto food marketing agency Nourish, which counts Redpath Sugar and the Dutch baked goods company Van der Meulen among its clients.

Nourish president Jo-Ann McArthur said that the study is the first of several planned by the agency, noting that halal is a potentially lucrative space for both food manufacturers and grocery retailers.

A 2014 report by Thomson Reuters commissioned by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce predicted that the global Halal food market would be worth US$1.6 trillion by 2018, growing by an average of 6.9% a year.

“We have some clients who are interested in that space because it’s such a growing demographic, and when we went to find some existing research, we realized there was a massive gap in the market,” McArthur said. “We thought it was a good first place to go.”

Conducted in partnership with Ajax, Ont.-based marketing agency Halal & Co. and the International Food Marketing Alliance, the research is based on a survey of 800 principal grocery shoppers in halal households. It found that 70% of respondents feel that food companies don’t do a good job of meeting their needs, and 61% feel major grocery chains don’t do a good job.

“They’re not being well-serviced by food producers or the grocery stores,” said McArthur, noting that there is also a significant gap in the perceptions of which products in Canadian grocery stores are considered halal by default.

The research found that only 27.6% of halal grocery shoppers consider sweets halal by default, 21.7% consider snacks halal by default and 12.7% consider processed foods halal by default.

McArthur says most people think of meat first, but if less than 13% of consumers consider processed food halal by default, there's a huge opportunity for manufacturers.

The study coincides with a rebrand for Nourish, a five-year-old agency formerly known as Fisheye. The Toronto agency was split into two divisions last month, with Fisheye working with clients in the green and social profit sectors and Nourish dedicated solely to clients in the food and beverage industries.

Nourish’s 15-person staff includes a culinary director, and the company owns its own test kitchen for recipe development and testing, in addition to food photography and videography.

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