INCREASING THE AWARENESS OF HALAL PRINCIPLES AMONG NON-MUSLIMS IN INDIA
Although the Halal concept has not been a major element among non-Muslim consumers living in an Islamic country, whether the non-Muslim consumers are aware of the underlying advantages that come with Halal food products or their viewpoints arising from their religious belief, are some intriguing questions that need to be answered. Thus the objective of the study explore the underlying determinants that are likely to influence non-Muslim consumers’ perceptions and attitudes towards Halal concept and Halal food products in India in lieu of new paradigm in emerging global issues on sustainability, environmental, food safety and animal welfare.
Halal means “permissible” or “allowed” in Arabic, is essentially a way of life and is not solely confined to the types of food that a Muslim is allowed to consume, though food is a vital component to lead a meaningful life. The bottom line is that Halal food is not just about what the food is but how it is prepared. The Halal concept emphasizes safety, hygiene and wholesomeness of food. It also provides an excellent platform for healthy eating. Consideration of the place and process of the animals being slaughtered and most importantly, the condition of these animals would not endanger the health of diners, are a prime focus of what Halal is all about. Today, Halal is no longer a mere religious obligation or observance, but is considered as the standard of choice for Muslims as well as non-Muslims worldwide. The Halal concept is not unfamiliar to non-Muslims, especially in India.
This shows that Non-Muslim living in Malaysian society are aware of the advantages that comes from Islamic slaughtering of animals. But these awareness are absent in the Indian Society. Through this article we want to show the actual advantages and awareness of Non-Muslim towards Halal food around the world. Because we don’t want any consumer to misunderstand Halal food in India.
NON-MUSLIM AWARENESS OF HALAL FOOD AROUND THE WORLD
THE CAPITAL OF RUSSIA: MOSCOW
A good example of consumers’ awareness and understanding with regards to the Halal concept of food products is the rapid increase in annual sales in Halal stores throughout Moscow, Russia, from USD45 in 2004 to USD70 million in 2006, a sum that is expected to hike to USD100 million in 2008. According to Canadian Agro-Food Trade Service Report (2008), there is a strong demand for Halal products in a number of non-Muslim countries for both groups of consumers. The Halal products are also growing in popularity among non-Muslim consumers due to humane animal treatment concerns and the perception that Halal products are healthier and safer. Non-Muslim Russians made purchases from Muslim stores because they believe the products are fresh, safe and infection free, and had confidence that Muslims would adhere to their religious belief not to cheat.
In the Philippines, non-Muslims also tend to prefer foodstuffs stamped with the Halal logo for health reasons. The public relations office of Victoria Foods Corporation – one of the many firms with Halal certification –claimed that an increasing number of Filipinos are becoming health-conscious. Filipinos are now looking for Halal products, which they believe to be safe, healthy and good to be consumed. However a lot of non-Muslim consumers still view Halal labeled food products from a religious perspective.
(Malaysia is a multiracial country with 62% of the population made up of Malays who are Muslim, 24% are Chinese who are either Buddhist or Traditional Chinese religions and 8% are Indians and their main religion is Hinduism. Both Chinese and Indians are not concerned about whether the food that they consume is Halal or not. It does not affect their consumption patterns even if the product is Halal). They have yet to appreciate the underlying advantages that come with Halal products which include a hygienic process.
A survey was conducted in the Klang Valley where 400 non-Muslim respondents were interviewed via structured questionnaires to gather information on their awareness and attitude towards Halal food products in the Malaysian food market. Descriptive statistic was used to identify the socio-economic/ demographic characteristics and attitudes of the respondents toward the Halal food principles. The results of this study suggest that non-Muslim consumers are aware of the existence of Halal food, Halal principles and the advantages of Halal way in slaughtering the animals. This can be shown by their significant awareness that Halal is not only the way Muslim slaughter their animals but also relates to environmental, sustainability, animal welfare and food safety. In general, various socio-economic/demographic factors such as education level, older generation, those who are more religious and the urban dweller seem to more likely to be aware of the advantages of Halal principles.
Halal products have to undergo before reaching the market. In addition to this, Halal products have to undergo a thorough inspection to ensure a clean and hygienic manufacturing process. Halal values can be popularized among Non-Muslim consumers if the society at large is made to be more aware of issues concerning health, animal rights and safety, the environment, social justice and welfare. Thus the objective of the study explore the underlying determinants that are likely to influencing non-Muslim consumers’ perceptions and attitudes towards Halal concept and Halal food products in India.
Malaysian Standard on Halal Food (MS 1500:2004) incorporates compliance with international standards of Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Hygiene Practices and prescribes practical guidelines for the food industry on the preparation and handling of Halal food (including nutrient supplements) based on quality, sanitary and safety considerations and serves as a basic requirement for food products and food trade or business in Malaysia.
A survey conducted by Bergeaud-Blackler et al. (French activist and writer) shows that the Halal meat products are chosen by French Muslims not because of religious obligation, but consumers also believe that Halal products were tastier, healthier and the Islamic slaughter method is less painful for the animal. Fundamental problems that arise are the different definitions of Halal food and the different perceptions among Non-Muslim consumers. The Halal food chain is therefore adapting to newly emerging consumer interests like food safety, animal welfare and convenience in cooking and eating. Halal has now become a universal concept. Halal stands not only for just fair business but also for animal welfare, social justice and sustainable environment. It is no longer a concept confined or restricted to the slaughtering of animals for the consumption of Muslims but encompasses products and services of the highest quality that meet the ever increasing awareness and needs of Non-Muslim consumers in a demanding market
The main motive of this article was to show the consuming attitude of Non-Muslims around the world. India has a huge market of food products. Many MNC’s have invested in Indian Food Market. Most of the food products we can find are Non-vegetarian. Therefore, it is important for the consumer to be aware of issues concerning health, animal rights, food safety, environment, social justice and welfare in India. This is the main objective of Halal council of India.