Many things have changed since Spanish halal market, lacking formal
regulation, was led by local mosques issuing halal certificates to meet
Spanish Muslims´s demand. Since1992, with the approval of the Cooperation
Agreement between the Spanish government and Spain´s Islamic Commission,
Spain´s food industry has been legally acknowledged and has therefore
developed an increasingly consolidated local halal market.
There are currently 25 slaughterhouses certified by the Instituto Halal, the
institution which regulates and issues halal certificates in Spain, and more
than a hundred companies have already applied for a halal label which
enables them to enter this market. Besides, longer-established Spanish halal
brands have found new opportunities to export to European countries such as
France, Belgium, Italy or Belgium.
Demand in Spain is fuelled not only by an increasing Muslim population –
there are more than a million Muslims living in Spain – but also by
non-Muslims consumers concerned about health who believe that halal labels
guarantee a higher level of safety and quality. Similar trends are taking
place across Europe, whose Muslim population has grown by more than 140%
over the past decade.
UAE, a net importer of food which accounts for a 7.7% of the world´s halal
importation market, has not been targeted by Spanish halal industry as it is
still evolving and can not outperform stiff competition from top global
halal exporters such as Malaysia. However, according to a Business Monitor
International Report, “under-developed and relatively low-tech food
processing facilities and the difficulties that the country faces in terms
of increasing its agricultural production, owning to its climate”, combined
with recent bans to Indian and Saudi meat, may fuel demand from European
According to Hanif Escudero, development director at the Instituto Halal,
“the consistent growth and the consolidation of the distribution channels
have enhanced Spanish halal industry performance”, driving up standards and
gradually enabling its halal industry to become capable of approaching the
exigent Gulf market. Moreover, Mr Escudero emphasizes the Gulf´s position as
a strategic re-exportation hub, through which Spanish halal exporting
companies may also reach Asian Southeast booming market.
The Spanish halal certificate has only recently been acknowledged by the
Gulf authorities, opening the legal doors for exports. Big efforts are being
promoted by the Instituto Halal and other institutions to support the
participation of Spanish halal companies in the upcoming Gulf Food, one the
world´s top showcases for the halal sector.
Still unable to compete in terms of quantity, Spain´s producers are
targeting the UAE´s top-end market with a gourmet-based line of products as
a means of keeping in pace with the Gulf´s consumer trends, reflecting also
the general tendency adopted by Spanish food exporters to make their début
and settle in the region. However, Mr Escudero looks cautiously at Spain´s
prospects to get stronger within the UAE market, forecasting a higher degree
of maturity in a mid-term basis.
Fuente: Oficina Comercial de España en EAU