As the $2 trillion Halal industry, which includes food, finance and much more, grows, many call for new ways to develop coherence and diversity.
“Demand is increasing and we now must focus on developing our products. I am not saying forget about being Halal, but we must start innovating,” says Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Managing Director of Islami Foods.
Speaking at the WIEF conference in Dubai, which ended on October 30, Lootah went on to stress the need to get rid of Halal complexes: “There are different norms and cultures across different regions, so it is difficult to apply one model of Halal-compliant business.”
This comes at a time when the Muslim world is looking at itself in hopes to develop the cross-border trade of Halal-certified goods. Media reports this week claim that a series of memoranda of understanding and agreements have been signed by Dubai Exports in partnership with Malaysia’s Halal HDC, and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC).
Lootah goes on to talk about the need for the Halal industry to innovate the consumer experience. “The next step is to focus on innovating the Halal experience and, making it attractive to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
In his closing address, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the co-organizers, said that the forum marked the “start of a new chapter of cooperation between Dubai and the world, as part of Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy vision.
“We must also harness technology, which is driving progress in the global economy, to ensure the future development of Halal industries,” he notes.
Overall, the rhetoric coming from leaders of the Halal industries was based around developing the right technologies to enhance and innovate the Halal products to globalize the industry.
The WIEF conference attracted more than 2,000 participants from all around the world. Organized in a collaboration between the WIEF Foundation, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy, the event was held at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre Dubai on October 28-30, 2014, with the arching theme ‘Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth’, which seeks to position Dubai as a leader of global Halal industries.