Competition for the ‘vast but difficult’ global halal food market is heating up, with Southeast Asian producers look to satisfy demand for shariah-compliant food, financial and pharmaceutical products among an increasingly wealthy Muslim population, both at home and in the Middle East.

The Malaysia-based International Halal Integrity Alliance, which includes members from Europe, India and Australia as well as Southeast Asia, is drafting a new set of standards to certify halal products it hopes to complete by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) is promoting the country’s image as the world’s largest Muslim nation and tying halal standards to Indonesia’s tourism ambitions, making it a bigger drawcard for Middle Eastern visitors. A halal product exhibition in Jakarta from 24-26 June this year will feature products from Indonesia and abroad.

As mentioned on this site previously, of primary concern when marketing and exporting halal products is trust. The Brunei Halal brand has set probably the most successful standard so far, scrutinizing every aspect of the supply and distribution chain for compliance, and operates to what it says are the strictest guidelines.

sources: Reuters, The Jakarta Post