Halal food sector represents huge market opportunity for UK livestock industry

18th May 2018

Livestock auctioneers throughout England and Wales are highlighting the importance of the halal food sector, particularly as we now enter the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which commenced on 17th May.

A rapidly growing market, made up of a largely younger, more affluent demographic, is seeing demand for halal-certified foods continue to increase.

At the Halal Food Authority (HFA) Industry Conference at the London Marriott Hotel Regents Park on 3rd May, delegates heard how the Muslim population of London is now the same as the entire population of Birmingham, and 25 per cent of Muslims throughout the UK are under the age of 30.

This, in turn, creates a huge market opportunity for the UK livestock industry, particularly for the UK sheep sector. John Brereton, chairman of the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), and partner at Jones Peckover, explains, “The Muslim trade is important throughout the year, but particularly so during festivals.

“Certainly, over the last couple of weeks, demand for old-season lambs, cull ewes and spring lambs has been very high. After a tough start, largely due to the weather, the numbers of spring lambs coming through increased towards the end of last week, and this has continued into this week.”

Rizvan Khalid, director of Euro Quality Lambs, the largest Muslim-owned lamb slaughter-house in Europe, adds, “The Muslim calendar is based on the moon, and this year Ramadan takes place from 17th May until 14th June. Most families will organise three main shopping visits, one before, one half-way through and one at the end of Ramadan for the Eid al-Fitr celebration.”

Eid al-Fitr takes place the first day after Ramadan finishes, sometimes referred to as the small Eid, or first Eid. Later in the year, the Eid al-Adha celebrations will in 2018 take place on 21st August. This will see a strong trade for lambs, particularly ram lambs of 6 months or over, meeting the Qurbani specifications.

Mr Brereton concludes, “The robust UK market is also complemented by a strong export trade for animals meeting halal certification, with great demand for UK livestock.”

Pictures courtesy of London Halal Food Festival