MATRADE NEWS provides industry players information and insights into the latest developments of the global Halal markets courtesy of the various Malaysian Trade Commissioners stationed all over the world. This second installment features the growing Halal market of France.
The Halal market is a growing market in France. The Muslim population is estimated at 5 million, of which 70% originate from the Magreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), while others are from Turkey and diverse African Muslim countries, Comores Islands and Senegal.
Availability of Halal Food
In the last four years, there has been a vast increase of Halal shops, largely due to rising demand. The Halal market is estimated at around Є3 billion. On average, about 10% of the meat sold in France is Halal meat, and the percentage is increasing. It is estimated that about 15% of the meat products sold in MIN Rungis market, the largest wholesale market in Paris is Halal, representing about 40,000 tons per year.
Currently there are more butcher or meat markets on street corners as the Halal meat markets are multiplying rapidly. Major butchers and meat processing companies, such as Charal, Doux, Socopa and Duc are increasing becoming more interested in Halal products. Several French supermarkets, notably Carrefour, Franprix and Auchan account for 20% of the Halal products sold in France, while 80% are sold by specialized Halal butcher shops. Some of these supermarkets have allocated specific shelves for Halal products.
The market trend in Halal food is towards prepared meals and food, such as pizzas, lasagnes and different kinds of pies. Today, between 2,000 to 5,000 butcher shops based in France, specialize in Halal food, such as fast food and pizzerias.
In terms of pricing, Halal meat is priced about 20% lower compared to non-Halal meat due to its basic presentation and packaging to cater for the lower purchasing power of the Muslims in France.
In France, there are 3 Halal labeling/certification authorities operating in 3 different areas, Paris, Lyon and Evry. These authorities have their own Halal labeling guidelines which are basically similar and they cover certification from slaughtering until packing.
Over the years, there has been increasing interest in the Halal sector from the French government. The French Ministry of the Interior launched a study in December to focus on the Halal sector. The French Council of Muslim Religion (CFCM) created a Halal commission, tasked to propose solutions and certification procedures, organize a better distribution market and identify means of overcoming fraud in Halal certification. Their main objective is to implement strict control on the Halal market to ensure that consumers receive genuine Halal products.
The constraints of this authority are that the term ‘Halal’ bears no legal significance, and thus it can be used freely on all kinds of products with no penalty risk. The criteria for certifying Halal products which is based on religion makes the certification process even more difficult.
As a result, some companies were found selling Halal products which do not fulfil the Halal criteria, involving the basic ritual slaughtering. It is difficult to monitor the Halal certification because 1/3 of the 300,000 tons of Halal meat consumed in France is imported (60% of Halal lamb is imported), mainly from Belgium and England.
Characteristics of the Muslim French Consumers
To identify the potential in the Halal market, the characteristics of the Muslim French consumers should be taken into consideration so that an appropriate market strategy can be outlined.
i. Preference for homemade food
Unlike other Muslim consumers especially in UK, the French Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisian are closely related to their families. Thus homemade foods are the most popular food and are mainly consumed.
ii. Lower purchasing power
Most of the French Muslims have a lower purchasing power compared to the other French individuals. Their average income is within the range of the country’s minimum wage rate of about €1,220, much lower compared to the national average of between €1,550 and €1,850.00.
With a lower income, these Muslim consumers dine mostly at home or eat at low cost Halal food restaurants or buy take away Halal sandwiches. They rarely dine in exclusive French restaurants, nor in other foreign restaurants.
iii. Preference for local French food
The French Muslims, especially the Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians, are currently the third generation living in France. Due to their long existence in France, their daily food includes French dishes and many of them are capable of preparing various Halal French recipes.
iv. Unfamiliar with other foreign food
The French Muslims are not adventurous people compared to the local French. Most of them are quite reluctant to eat in restaurants serving foods which are unfamiliar/alien to them. They generally do not have much knowledge nor are they aware of other foreign food because they do not travel extensively, spending most of their holiday in their homeland.
Although the younger generation Muslim French do eat in restaurants, but they either eat non-meat dishes (vegetables or fish) or to a certain extend eat non-Halal meat, but excluding pork.
Penetrating the French Halal food market
Exporters of Halal meat products must obtain an establishment approval from the EU authority before they can export to the EU, including France. To date, countries like Malaysia can export poultry products to the EU.
Manufacturers intending to export Halal food must identify the appropriate Halal food that can be marketed in France. They must study the possibility of manufacturing local dishes (Arabic/French) to penetrate into this market. This would assure them of a constant demands as the food is consumed daily. If the food products cater for the Asian community then there will be limited consumption. Some examples of the local food are boulognaise sauce, lasagna pizza, tomato meatballs, tomato chicken meatballs, minced chicken meat and sausages.
Halal food exporters could leverage on the extensive networks of the Euro Halal Exhibition at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, the annual meeting place for global Halal traders which is gaining recognition and popularity.
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FRANCE AT A GLANCE
Area: 547,030 sq km
Population: 60,656,178 (July 2005 est.)
Capital City: Paris
People/ Ethnic Groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Language: French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
Religion: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewsih 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
GDP: purchasing power parity -$1.737 trillion (2004 est.)
GDP per capita: purchasing power parity -$28,700 (2004 est.)
Inflation: 2.3% (2004 est.)
Major Industries: machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism
Major Trading Partners
- Imports: Germany 19.6%, Belgium 9.5%, Italy 9.1%, Spain 7.4%, Netherlands 7%, UK 6.9%, US 5.3% (2003)
- Exports: Germany 15.3, Spain 9.6%, UK 9.4%, Italy 9.3%, Belgium 7.3%, US 6.7% (2003)
MATRADE PARIS INFO
Aureen Nonis (Mdm.)
Service Commercial de Malaisie
Ambassade de Malaisie
90, Avenue des Champs Elysees
75008 Paris, France
Tel: 33 1 40760000
Fax: 33 1 40760001
**This article was first published in The Halal Journal Jul/Aug 2005 edition.