Muslim-friendly economy is a growing business opportunity in Europe
The world is going through deep changes in the last few years. At a business level, production strategies are shifting, reshoring significant productions nearer the consumer markets. Thus avoiding the weaknesses of long logistic chains. From a demand perspective, the growing middle class from emerging markets is leading global consumption and innovation, redefining the global flows of trade. Meanwhile, global citizens are becoming more assertive about their own identity, reshaping their patterns of consumption. These global urban middle classes are turning more demanding in terms of the adaptation and sophistication of the products they consume. And from a relational perspective digital technologies have become a total factor, redefining how we communicate, how we interact and relate, how we consume, and the ways we produce.
All these global factors and tendencies have inevitably had an impact on the young Muslim population. The growing segment of the young, urban, cosmopolitan, and digitally native Muslim population is increasingly an active player in these changes. In the case of Europe, the Muslim population represented 25 million citizens in 2016 and is expected to reach around 33.5 million by 2050. There is an ever-increasing demand for halal goods and services in London, Paris, Marseille, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Brussels, or Berlin where a substantial Muslim population lives. In particular, the Muslim Millennial, which represents a growing value-added segment of consumers and entrepreneurs, are searching for different options ,and product ranges in modest veiling fashion, halal food & beverages, halal cosmetics, and so on. They are looking for products and services which are not only compatible with their Islamic beliefs but also in line with modern living. Their aggregated potential of consumption is huge, especially relevant in a context of crisis as the one we are going through. Thus, if brands adapt their offer to these preferences, they are ready to be loyal to them.
We are witnessing a growing normalization of the Islamic economy among European markets and companies. More public festivals, exhibitions, specialized events, and magazines are addressing this segment of consumers, generating a virtuous circle of business opportunities. In Europe, the Muslim-friendly economy represents between 50 and 100 billion €, depending on the sources. And it shows a clear and steady growth in sectors such as fashion, gastronomy, food&beverage or entertainment. This growing demand is expected to be fulfilled by sophisticated products elaborated in Europe itself and neighbourhood countries such as Turkey, that can guarantee the supplies and the quality of the products.
Turkey is a Muslim majority country that has a significant potential impact on the Muslim-friendly economy in Europe. Besides, Europe is one of the most pre-eminent trade partners of Turkey, not just because of geographical proximity but also because of economic, historical, cultural, and political links. As a Muslim majority country, Turkey’s efforts related to the promotion of Halal business will surely affect Muslim consumption in Europe.
TURKEY-EU (28) TRADE-MILLION €1
Due to the COVID-19 significant economic impact in 2020, we are including in this analysis the trends until 2019. So, for the years of 2016-2019, the trade between the EU and Turkey indicates that the EU was the destination of more than 50% of Turkey’s total exports, and 40% of its total imports.
Regarding Halal trends and the economy, in 2018 the global Islamic economy reached $2.2 trillion.According to different sources global Halal food sector , the most significant component of the Halal economy, is expected to be worth nearly $1.38 trillion by 2024. In addition to that in Europe, the Halal food market size is expected to reach nearly $120 million by 2024, with a 4% annual growth rate. These figures show the huge potential of the Halal food and beverage sector both, at the global and the EU level.
On the other hand, COVID-19 caused a deep change in approaches to business, daily habits, and patterns of consumption. In this context, the three biggest food exhibitions in Europe, (Anuga in Cologne, Germany Alimentaria in Barcelona, Spain, and Sial in Paris, France), have been postponed to the end of 2021, and beginning of 2022 due to the current situation.
These European dynamics have had an impact on Turkey as one of the most important trade partners of Europe. Companies from Turkey actively attend business events, exhibitions and participate in B2B meetings all across Europe. Paradoxically, the COVID-19 economic and business context has revealed new business opportunities. Besides exhibitions, online platforms have emerged as spectacular opportunities for traders and consumers. Regarding Muslim-friendly consumption, Turkish companies can benefit from the growth of several specialized online platforms.
One of these online platforms is the Halal Trade Zone, where the global and local suppliers and retailers meet. It provides not only commerce but also knowledge and updates news, being a sort of social media. Another important online source is Zabihah which includes Halal Restaurants and markets, lists the places according to region and countries. DagangHalal is a comprehensive trade platform that includes goods and services. It offers a guide and consultancy and technical issues. One of the last appearances is OneAgrix. It is an ambitious platform that provides opportunities to get access to suppliers and buyers with a broad product range, from food ingredients to dietary supplements with certification institutions. Another relevant online realm is Ummazing. It includes the Muslim lifestyle (fashion, cosmetics, etc). It also has a blog page about food, culture, fashion, and social issues. Other platforms are, Gourmandd (direct purchase from manufacturer), Meatmeatand Trade in Spain, Gusto-Market Place in the United Kingdom, and Meatb2b in France.
All these examples show the growing possibilities that digital platforms offer to Muslim-friendly consumers and producers. In addition to that, some platformshave general options, such as Tradewheel; Saladplate, Globsupplies, Liferando (the classical delivery website) which have Halal selections. These platforms offer possibilities for the promotion of Turkish brands and products among Muslim consumers. With globalization and the advancement of digital communication, social media has become a determinant of new trends. Thus, different sources are making special emphasis on this trend. Feedspot, for instance, published “Top 15 Muslim Lifestyle blogs” or Qantara has written about relevant Muslim bloggers, many of them are Turkish. Another example is FeedtheLion who published about 5 Halal recipe bloggers to be followed during the lockdown.
In conclusion, the new normal is much more digital; thus, companies should understand this new momentum and respond to this new type of business opportunity with new strategies.