A report by Nourish Marketing Inc. indicates that the market for halal products in Canada could exceed that for Chinese foods by next year.
Halal products are those deemed ritually clean for consumption by Muslims. The sixth annual study of halal trends by Nourish notes that the segment is one of the fastest-growing in the country.
Data from Statistics Canada indicates that Canada’s Muslim population will top 1.4 million next year, exceeding the size of the Chinese ethnic market.
While several products bear the designation, the most commonly discussed product is meat.
Boosting the supply of halal meat to serve markets across the province has been a focus of efforts to expand processing capacity across the province. One new Class E licence was issued last year, but it isn’t enough, especially in markets such as the Lower Mainland.
Demand spikes at the end of the annual fasting period of Ramadan, which ends this year on May 23.
“The halal meat supply in the Lower Mainland becomes quite an issue around the time of Eid,” Gavin Last, executive director of the food safety and inspection branch at the BC Ministry of Agriculture, noted last year.
In northern parts of the province, such as Prince George, demand is met by operators such as Kawano Farms, a Class A abattoir that has found a niche providing products local grocery stores typically don’t stock.