Enough with discussing the ways Muslims can prove they are not terrorists …for now. I want to focus on a very curious topic that can really make businessmen in the food industry even more rich than they currently are.
Practically everyone in America has heard of the word “Kosher.” Thousands of people in the US specifically look for packaging on labels to indicate whether the food item is in fact Kosher certified. Kosher indicates to members of the Jewish faith whether the food they will be purchasing has been prepared according to Jewish dietary laws. Halal indicates the same thing to Muslims. The challenge Muslims face in America is that packaging usually does not show whether the food is Halal or not. There is a reason for that. Those certifications are granted by organizations who analyze the ingredients and style of preparation before deeming it as acceptable to be consumed by the members of their faith group. This costs manufacturers, however.
Manufacturers have recognized the economic value of certifying food products as Kosher long ago, giving the Jewish community in America quite a bit of options. However, the American Muslim community has only recently started certifying brands as Halal – although many Muslims have been purchasing Kosher brands as an acceptable substitute. Regardless, what this means for businesses is they need to start listening to conversations amongst Muslims. It may or may not be taking place online, but the faster companies recognize the business opportunity to sell products to conservative Muslims who avoid specific food items simply because they are not certain of the sources of the ingredients, the faster they will win loyal Muslim customers.
A good example of companies who have been listening to their customers is the Vermont cheese company, Cabot. They have been labeling a number of their products as certified Halal for quite some time now. It has become a popular brand among Muslims, and many reach for Cabot before any other brand because they have some comfort in knowing the source of the ingredients have been verified. This has given Cabot a headstart to win Muslim customers away from its competitors, all because they listened. That’s exactly what PR has to do with Muslims and food.
Here is an interesting link on Halal, PR and Muslim Consumers by one of the largest public relations firms, Edelman.