Nz Firms Could Make Billions In Halal Market - 3 News

Friday 13th July 2012

New Zealand firms could be making billions from doing more business in the lucrative Asian Halal economy.

But right now, the New Zealand Asia Institute says kiwi exporters aren't doing enough to reach the growing number of Muslim consumers throughout Asia.

Auckland-based company Burger Fuel is a developing success story when it comes to expanding in Muslim markets.

The Burger franchise has eight stores scattered throughout the Middle East and plans to keep on growing.

Burger Fuel worldwide marketing manager Alexis Lam says Muslim consumers like the products.

“They love the NZ produce and beef. They're really excited about having something that tastes quite different to the other beef products they have there and they're really comfortable with our Halal certification.”

Trade analysts say New Zealand is doing well when it comes to tapping into the Halal food sector but it is the billions of dollars in other sectors such as finance, IT, health products, cosmetics, travel and tourism they say we need to address.

However New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Commissioner Fiona Acheson says complying with Halal standards may require less work than some imagine.

“It's not that New Zealand companies are making products that aren't potentially Halal-certified products but it's not something well-understood yet,” Mr Lam says.

Halal is what is deemed permissible to a Muslim, as defined by Islamic law and requires a specific way of slaughtering the animal.

Financial advisory firm KPMG now caters for the fast growing needs of Islamic businesses.

The firm says New Zealand has been typically reactive to the area, rather than proactive but it was becoming increasingly important.

As with all markets, there are costs and barriers to overcome when targeting the Halal economy, of which Burger Fuel has first-hand experience.

“In getting over to the Middle East there's a lot of paperwork that we've had to deal with, we've had a lot of shipments that have been held at the border,” Mr Lam says.

But the New Zealand Asia institute says there's enormous potential in Asian countries that New Zealand already has trade relationships with.

And with the Halal economy set for massive growth, ignoring it would be at the New Zealand economy's own peril.

A conference at the University of Auckland business school will kick off in a few hours bringing together Asian and New Zealand business leaders with a goal to push New Zealand’s presence in the lucrative Asian Halal economy.


Adrien Taylor - 3 News