Partnering with HalalNode, Halal Lifestyle Indonesia aims to promote sustainable Halal lifestyle in food, apparel and fashion. As a part of HalalNode’s community, Halal Lifestyle Indonesia shared at a panel session organised by HalalNode during MIHAS 2019. Halal Lifestyle Indonesia provided some interesting insights about why Halal is not about religion, but a lifestyle and how this market will grow.

The Halal lifestyle and market size

When people think of halal, most would associate it with food. After all, this is the most visible aspect of halal we all interact with. Halal is more than just food. It encompasses actions that are permissible under Islamic law. As such, it is relevant across a broad range of sectors, from finance to tourism, ensuring that stakeholders act responsibly in the best interest of the people.

Many also have the common misconception is that halal is about religion. Pak Iwan, CEO of Halal Lifestyle Indonesia shared that Halal is not about religion but about contributing to society for the benefit of mankind. For example, there has been a growing trend of non-muslims choosing to consume halal food. Why? The benefit such as food safety standards required by halal certification was a driving factor for them. This is an example of halal having benefits for everyone, not just Muslims.

While Muslims are required to consume halal food, that does not mean that Muslims will the only ones consuming it. Perhaps the real market size of the halal market is more than just the global Muslim population.

Certifications and regulations

Certification has always been an interesting space. There are more than 800 certification bodies in the world, and Japan alone has more than 50. Healthy competition between certification bodies is good to ensure they perform in the best interest of the people. Even then, the recognition of certification and halal status of a product is ultimately driven by consumers. Consumers will shape the certification landscape.

Indonesia has pushed for halal product labelling, covering food, medicine and cosmetics. This could potentially boost consumer confidence and make Indonesia a major halal goods supplier globally. But until implemented, we can only speculate. It will all depend on how consumers react. They will decide on whether the certification is trustworthy and useful and ultimately drive the demand.

The market gaps and the future of it

Pak Iwan also shared that when travelling to or through countries like Korea and Japan, it can be quite challenging to find halal options. Especially so when the packaging is in the local language and halal certification is done by an agency he is unfamiliar with. As such, he tries to avoid them when travelling to the United States. Instead, he opts to go via Taipei, where halal options are available.

Pak Iwan then shared his experience when visiting China. Comparing the first time he went a decade ago to another visit more recently, he was impressed with how things have changed, especially in payments, where cash is almost non-existent in their day to day life.

The halal market is just at its first phase, like China a decade ago. It will expand, into other industries, new certification and standards will be created for these sectors. Technology together with awareness and growing demand will drive this change. The scale of the halal market beyond food is huge. As there is a saying in Islam, if you cannot do everything, then do it gradually, bit by bit. In the end, the halal lifestyle market will be huge and it will take time to develop.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].