Opening your business to the Muslim community may pay huge dividends to your business. However, particular religious and cultural needs must be addressed before you can benefit from this dynamic and emergent demographic. Read more to learn how your business can benefit from being Halal compliant with AHFs vast experience and success.
Invest into knowing the Muslim consumer
It might be surprising to learn, but did you know that Islam is the fastest-growing religious group in America? Only Christians outnumber Muslims when it comes to religious affiliation. This is because Muslim immigrants arrived in a giant wave to America in the early 1960s and 70s, primarily from Asia and the Middle East. Jump ahead to 2022, and some of these families are now entering their fourth generation as Americans.
Like most Americans, the Muslim consumer wants to enjoy Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and other sensational cuisines. However, eating Halal doesn’t mean only eating stereotypical Muslim dishes like curry and gyros, so don’t fall victim. Instead, view the Muslim demographic as mainstream consumers, but with a specific set of requirements.
Right now, some establishments serve Halal wagyu steaks, Halal pizza, and even French Halal haute cuisine.
When it comes to Halal, nothing is off the table – except for ABDC IS:
A- Alcohol (ethyl) and all types of intoxicants/drugs
B- Blood – flowing or congealed
C- Carnivorous animals
D- Dead meat – meat that is not slaughtered according Islamic slaughtering rites
I- Food immolate unto idols
S- Swine and all swine derivatives
Understanding the allergen of Halal
It is essential to recognize that the term Halal is broadly applicable to not only food and drink. Halal, for most Muslims, is a way of life. As with all religions, some are observant, some pay Halal lip service, and some fall somewhere in between. The level of adjustment your business is prepared to make will determine the type of Halal customers who will try out your business and its offerings.
As you think about food preparation at your facility, the easiest way to think of producing Halal food is to think of Halal food as an allergen. Although, it is an allergen that is not nearly as stressful as being a gluten-free or nut-free establishment. When preparing Halal food on-site, you may not need a separate kitchen. Still, as with all allergen environments, some separation will be necessary, especially if you’re planning to serve Halal and non-Halal food. More than likely, you will require separate cooking surfaces, a dedicated prep area, and cooking pans and small wares dedicated to Halal preparation. By the way, meat isn’t the only thing that may or may not be Halal. For example, some premade sauces have animal byproducts in them. For your food to be Halal, all your ingredients must be Halal. AHF can help you research your ingredients in your facility and, if necessary, find replacements that will not impact your existing business operations.
Are you thinking about not being exclusively Halal? It will be necessary to carefully consider the other food and drink items you will offer. Pork and alcohol are forbidden for Muslims to consume. If you have these available for consumption, it may cause some potential customers to think twice. The fear of cross-contamination may cause the Muslim consumer to avoid your business. Just as a person with Celiac disease avoids establishments serving gluten products for fear of physical harm, the Muslim consumer may avoid your establishment for fear of the spiritual harm it will cause them if you are serving pork and alcohol.
Crafting a Halal menu (Do not change a thing!)
As discussed earlier, almost any type of cuisine can be made Halal. So, there is no need to break your mold and recast yourself as Halal; make what you accel and know. And remember, there is so much more to Halal food than just chicken, white sauce, and rice. So, don’t work too hard at reworking your existing offerings.
Going Halal may be as simple for you as swapping out a few ingredients and switching to a Halal supplier for your meats, of course. Let AHF be your guide to setting your mark in the Halal foodservice marketplace.
How can AHF help you to reach the Muslim consumer?
Generally speaking, you might not have the pieces in place to get your business’s name in front of potential Muslim customers. But, as with any demographic, it is just a matter of learning what they do and where they do it.
So do not underestimate the power of social media. In the digital age, “social media” really translates to “word of mouth” – if people like you and what you do, they will tweet, post, and comment for all to see. From the very beginning, you will need to establish precise Halal procedures. Trust is crucial in the Muslim community, and if you have it, it will spread. But if you break it, that will spread, too. AHF will ensure that your business has the most trustworthy suppliers in place for you to make that critical and fantastic first impression on all of your new customers.
AHF will work beside you to help your brand build trust and transparency as we understand this growing and vital demographic. The benchmark for ethnic marketing in America has always been the Latino community. Still, the number of American Muslims will exceed the American Latino population in just a few short years. Partnering with someone like the AHF who already “gets” the Muslim consumer will put you in a position to succeed with this exciting and emerging opportunity.