With nearly 2 billion Muslim consumers, the current market for halal food products offers huge export opportunities. Demand for halal food has increased tremendously during the last few years. Last year, halal products accounted for about $1.1 trillion, or 20%, of the world's foods-trading value. This figure is projected to rise to $1.6 trillion in 2018.
According to Thailand's National Food Institute, The value of halal food exports in 2014 was US$5.8 billion, ranked in the world’s top 10, making Thailand the leader for halal exports among all Southeast Asian countries.In the past five years, the country’s halal-food exports have grown by 8 percent annually. The Department of Industrial Promotion’s National Food Institute (NFI) plans to pursue export opportunities for halal foods in accordance with a five-year (2016- 2020) strategic plan.
For fiscal 2016, the Industry Ministry has budgeted Bt180 million to promote exports of halal products, expansion plans focus on the development of Thailand’s five southernmost provinces (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Satun and Songkhla) as major production bases for halal products in Asia. The department will also expedite development plans for halal products of small and mediumsized enterprises and Otop (One Tambon, One Product) to propel Thailand towards being among the top five halal exporters by 2020.
Halal food is produced in accordance with Islamic dietary guidelines. In Thailand, the Central Islamic Committee sets high standards for the accreditation of halal food companies and their products are processed in accordance with the committee’s Standard regulations.
The major export markets include Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. While China, with a Muslim population of 30 million, is growing as a potentially tempting market for Thai halal food products.