Emerging market provides economic opportunities for Alberta’s beef industry
Growing Muslim population opens doors for expansion of Canadian halal market
By Kate Ayers
More Alberta beef producers and processors are looking to obtain halal certification to cater to Canada’s growing Muslim population.
The Canadian halal market is valued at $1 billion annually and is expected to expand, according to an Edmonton Journal article on Monday. Canada’s Muslim population is projected to triple by 2030, up from the 2011 count of one million, the article also said.
Alberta’s Department of Agriculture started looking into halal market opportunities 15 years ago but this niche is now receiving more attention than ever.
The halal industry is “one of the biggest opportunities open to Alberta producers and processors,” Grant Winton, the lead of the department’s Asia, Middle East and Africa international relations division, said in the article.
In May 2017, three business partners opened northern Alberta’s only slaughterhouse dedicated to halal production. No pork, which is forbidden in Islam, has entered their establishment.
Alberta Bros. Meat Packers is situated in Redwater, a small town north of Edmonton. The business only processes local meats, but the owners are looking to gain qualification as a federal plant and to explore export opportunities, according to the Edmonton Journal.
“We feel proud of this work – of pushing and promoting local. Small businesses like the idea they can support local, support the economy and get quality Alberta meat,” Huzefa Khan, co-owner of the company, said in the article.
The agriculture department held two well-attended information sessions last year about opportunities in the halal market.
Although farmer and processor interest is growing, converting to halal production presents some challenges when ensuring facilities are halal-compliant and meeting conditions outlined in Islamic law.
Cost is a major consideration and halal plants must also conform to Alberta regulations.
“Alberta producers and processors are business people who want to sell their products. There are huge halal consumer markets around the world, and we want to access them,” Winton said in the article.
Beyond the beef market, Winton said opportunity exists for various spinoff products, such as making gelatin from beef instead of pork.
Photo Credit: BBC