News From : DagangHalal.com (17 Nov 2009)
As the leading player in the global halal food market, Nestle looks set to further expand its halal presence in Europe.
Frits van Dijk, Nestle Executive Vice President and Zone Director for Asia, Oceania, Africa and Middle East, outlines Nestle’s role of halal in its global expansion, during the first regional World Halal Forum Europe, on November 17-18 in the Netherlands. Following on from the 4th World Halal Forum (WHF), which was held in Kuala Lumpur on 4-5 May this year, the “Halal Potential – A Regional Focus” event brings together a number of high-level participants, industry experts, academics and scholars to focus on the potential implications on halal integrity, business and trade.
Mr van Dijk explained that Nestle is set to increase its supply of ethnic and halal foods in Europe, having already established a strong presence in France, the UK and Germany. With sales of Nestle’s ethnic and halal foods in Europe reaching CHF 55 million in 2008, the company is aiming to scale up significantly in the coming years. This will include moving into mainstream retail channels, where at the beginning of 2010 Nestle will be offering Swiss supermarkets a selection of ethnic products, most of which are halal.
Nestle’s ethnic business in most European markets is delivered by Nestrade, a global trading company within the Nestle group. It developed a marketing initiative in 2004 called Taste of Home offering a wider range of ethnic foods sold in ethnic convenience stores, called Mom and Pop stores.
This campaign – which was extended to focus predominantly on halal, with products being sold in almost 1,000 stores in five European countries during Ramadan in September – has seen strong growth of around 50% each year, with double-digit profitability.
Alexander Klein, manager branded products channel development at Nestrade, said: “We felt a strong demand from retailers in broadening their ethnic assortment, and this is a pillar of growth we want to continue to focus on. The Taste of Home concept is designed to speak to both ethnic consumers looking for flavours and products that remind them of home, as well as European consumers looking for interesting and exotic world foods. Of course, providing the reassurance of halal-certification is also vital.”
Halal, which literally means permissible, is a way of living that all Muslims must adhere to. Halal in a food context specifically means food and drink which is allowed under the Islamic Law (Syariah). Many Muslims therefore look for reassurance that all the food they eat is halal, especially processed foods, although this varies between regions and cultures.
Since the 1980s, Nestle has been offering halal versions of well-known products right across its range of food and beverages, including confectionery such as Kit Kat and Smarties, Maggi soups, Nido and Neslac milk, Milo malted drinks and Nescafe, accounting for 5% of Nestle’s annual sales, around CHF 5.3 billion.
Of Nestle’s 456 factories worldwide, 85 have a halal certification with 154 halal-certified production lines situated mainly in Indonesia, South Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and Malaysia – with Malaysia as the Halal Excellence Centre and biggest halal food producer within the Nestle Group, exporting to more than 50 countries worldwide. Interestingly, 20 of Nestle’s factories in Europe have halal-certified production lines, for example Nestle’s Konolfingen factory in Switzerland produces halal-certified Nido milk power for export to South-East Asia.
Nestle Halal products are labelled with a certification that provides assurance that it is manufactured, imported and distributed under the strictest hygienic and sanitary conditions, in accordance with the Islamic faith.
An Islamic inspection authority such as the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) or the Islamic Food Council of Europe inspects Nestle factories along with a Nestle Halal Committee member to ensure that products comply before the halal logo can be used.