Changes in the consumption of Halal meat and consumer trends towards Halal products in England are to be studied in a dedicated study for the first time.
The research project has been commissioned by the newly-formed Halal Steering Group, established by EBLEX with key industry figures to guide work in the Halal sector and act as a forum for issues related to Halal meat.
It will cover the Muslim population growth in England, as well as demand for Halal products, the supply chain and changing consumption trends, and build on previous work done to form a complete view of the Halal sector.
The project is expected to take six months and will help to quantify the Halal market which the domestic sheep and cattle meat producing sectors need to address.
EBLEX board member Simon Warren, chairman of the Halal Steering Group, said: "The group was set up to look at issues affecting the Halal sector and this first project will help give us a detailed picture of where we are now.
"It is the first time such a holistic study has been carried out to our knowledge, and will help drive future activity."
The inaugural meeting of the steering group this month also identified the need for a recognised assurance scheme for Halal products which will specifically help English producers hoping to supply foreign markets.
The group's aim is to provide market knowledge for producers, processors, butchers, retailers and the food service market, to help the supply of appropriate products to the Muslim consumer.
Naved Syed, of Janan Meat and a member of the Halal Steering Group, added: "The group has been established to unlock the £1 billion market opportunity for domestic producers, both here and through exports.
"Sheep meat prices are currently on a high, partly as a result of demand for cull ewes for the Halal market.
"This first research project will give us a clearer view of domestic consumption to help the industry ensure production is geared to efficiently meet the demand."
EBLEX has produced a DVD - The Quality Meat Supply Chain for the Muslim Consumer - to help farmers, consumers and public sector caterers understand how Halal meat is produced in England.
To request a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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