Malaysia Halal F&B : On the Road to Japan

Halal Expo 2019 is happening on the 24th-26th January 2019 in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, and it is a platform showcasing halal products and services of Malaysian SMEs for the fast-growing regional and global halal markets. As a platform for the various businesses under the umbrella term of Halal, it allows businesses to showcase their products and services for export to Japan in time for 2020 Olympics.

As a lead up to the event, a satellite program in a form of an industry talk on how to export Halal F&B took place at Quill City Mall on the 16th January 2019.

Four panelists comprising of industry experts came to discuss the importance of getting halal certificate for their products and the tips and tricks in exporting halal F&B to overseas markets. A representative from JAKIM Halal Hub with diverse experiences involving international halal seminars, conferences and workshops around the globe, Director Dato Dr Sirajuddin bin Suhaimee, was also part of the industry talk to share his expert input on the subject matter.

Dato Dr Sirajuddin talked about the importance of getting halal certificate to improve sales because there is a high level of demands from Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike. As a halal certification body, JAKIM has an improved standard in application processing; with the longest time needed being 1.5 months and a fee as low as RM200 especially given to SMEs. JAKIM also practices an open-door policy and warmly welcomes SMEs with open arms should they require guidance in the application process.

Meanwhile, the Deputy CEO II of SME Corp Malaysia, Mr Mohd Rithaudden Makip, discussed the challenges in getting halal certification. He expressed disappointment that only a tiny portion out of almost 1 million SMEs in Malaysia are certified halal. The main hurdle to this is not only limited to the halal certificate being expensive but can sometimes be the prerequisites to fulfilling JAKIM’s halal requirements. He nevertheless stressed the importance of having a halal certificate because it will improve product sales tremendously. His agency is passionate in helping SMEs obtain the necessary technical and competitive skills to compete in the market.

Ms Shukuriah Abd Ghafar, the owner of AdeqSue shared her anecdote on how she managed to increase her product sales by 900% after obtaining halal certification for her product. During her first meeting with major supermarkets, they refused to distribute her products due to the lack of halal certification and bad product packaging. However, her company grew into a well-known brand in a relatively short time after making necessary changes after considering the feedback they received from many parties.

Another member of the panel, Mr Engku Isa Al-Husam, is the owner of Food Market/Asia Saudi stores and shared his story of opening a chain of Asian grocery stores around Saudi Arabia. One of his stores is the most strategically placed store in the Masjidil Haram and it costs more than all his other stores combined. He revealed the requirements that needs to be fulfilled to get products exported abroad and the immense need to be patient when dealing with them. In his opinion, although local Malaysian businesses will not be able to compete with Indonesia and Thailand in terms of cost, Malaysia has a better system in place as well as the confidence of Arabic people in our products and should capitalize on that advantage we have over our international competitors.

The global halal market caters for 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe and is estimated to be worth around 2.3 trillion USD a year. Next year, Malaysia aims to hit 50 billion worth of halal exports volume. Extensive collaboration of government agencies and private sectors are crucial to achieve this target and local Malaysian businesses are encouraged to grab this opportunity.

Do not miss the upcoming Malaysia Halal Expo 2019 #MHE2019 happening on the 24th to 26th January in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. For more information, log on to www.halal-expo.my

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