By 2050, 2.76 billion Muslims will live on the planet, up from 1.3 billion today, according to an estimate by the Pew Research Center. This will correspond to ⅓ of the world population in the period. With this increase, the demand for halal products, especially food, will also grow. Global trade in halal food moved about $ 1.2 trillion last year and is expected to reach $ 1.9 trillion by 2022, according to an estimate by the Halal International Accreditation Forum. Brazil is already recognized in the Islamic world as one of the countries that has the most expertise in the production of this type of food, especially because of its role in the protein sector. However, it can become an even more relevant player.
+ Halal (permissible) is all that is in accordance with Islamic law and thus free for consumption by Muslims. According to Muslim beliefs, food can influence the soul, behavior, moral and physical health of the human being. With this, Islam has made it compulsory for Muslims to know the origin of what they consume. In this way, Islam directs Muslims to verify whether these products conform to religious rules or not. Everything that is in conformity is called “halal”. The Halal segment is not limited to food products: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even tourism and financial services can be included in the category.
According to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Brazil exported the US $ 3.95 billion of animal protein from bovine and poultry origin to the Arab countries last year. “There is a huge demand for the halal market because of the quality of the Brazilian product and the effectiveness of the Brazilian companies in meeting the requirements. So all these issues make Brazil an important market for the supply of halal products to the Muslim countries”, explains Nasereddin Khazraji, director of Alimentos Halal Brasil, a certifier linked to the Islamic Center in Brazil.
The halal certification processes are the responsibility of the certification companies in Brazil and the religious authorities of the importing countries. The Brazilian government, on the other hand, provides the necessary support for producing and exporting companies to remain solid in their role as suppliers of these products.
Halal production is certified in various stages, from animal feeding to slaughter and storage. “We help the Brazilian refrigerator to offer this product according to the requirements and conditions that the customer demands”, completes Khazraji.
More than 300 Brazilian butcheries are already qualified to operate in the Muslim market. Brazil currently exports to 57 Islamic countries, including 22 Arab countries, and is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of halal chicken meat, according to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA). Almost 2 million tons were exported last year.
In the beef market, in turn, Brazil broke a record of exports in 2018, when the country shipped 341 thousand kilos of protein. The number represents 20.8% of the total sold in the world, according to the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporting Industries (Abiec).
Brazil has accumulated this expertise since the early 1980s, when local butcheries made the first shipment of halal chicken.
According to CCAB, there is an interest on the part of the Arabs in shaping ventures of Arab-Brazilian capital to optimize the production and logistics chain of halal food. This would lower the cost to the end consumer as part of the production process would be transferred to the destination country of the product. A concrete example is Brasil Foods (BRF), a Brazilian company, which has part of the company One Foods, formerly called Sadia Halal. Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the company has about 15,000 employees and supplies products from 10 industrial plants, eight in Brazil, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Malaysia.
It holds 45% of the chicken market in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. The distribution is made with its own structure and the marketing includes several brands, including Sadia, a reference in Brazil and in several countries.
According to information from CCAB, Arab sovereign wealth funds play a prominent role in investments in the halal food market. An example is Saudi Arabia’s SALIC fund, which has been making systematic contributions to food producers for years worldwide.
SALIC took control of the Minerva butchery about four years ago and has become the largest beef exporter in Brazil and one of the leading suppliers of halal beef protein to the Arab world. The fund also has contributions to other large Brazilian food companies, including BRF.
2019: A Promising Year
From January to July 2019, sales of miscellaneous products from Brazil to the Arab countries yielded $ 7.1 billion, up 16.9% from the first seven months of last year, while Brazilian exports as a whole fell by 4.7% in the same comparison.
The volume of Brazilian halal beef exports to the United Arab Emirates has already grown by 439.84% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period of the previous year. With the support of the Brazilian government, there was an increase in exports not only to the United Arab Emirates but to the entire block of Arab countries.
Arab Brazilian Chamber: an essential partner
Founded in 1952 by a group of Brazilian Syrian-Lebanese businessmen interested in increasing trade between Brazil and the Middle East, the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce became the Arab League’s trade representation body in Brazil and Brazilian trade interests in the Arab countries.
The Arab League is Brazil’s third-largest trading partner in the world and the second main destination for Brazilian agribusiness products. In the halal food market, CCAB plays an important role in verifying the documents of products exported to the Arab countries, including those requiring certification, such as animal proteins.
+ Tamer Mansour, General Secretary of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce will be a panelist in a session of the Brazil Africa Forum 2019: Food Security – path to economic growth, an event that will be held in São Paulo next month, supported by ATLANTICO. For further information: https://forumbrasilafrica.com