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Thursday, 18 August 2016

The expansion of the #halal market in the Balkans

In recent years the halal market in the Balkans has grown rapidly. This is most evdient in Bosnia & Herzegovina, which has a Muslim population of around 50%. However, since the establishment of Center for Halal Quality Certification in 2010 the halal market in Croatia has also started to expand. The Muslim population in Croatia is only 1.5 % of the population and the the halal market is not very big. While most Croatian companies acquire certification for export purposes and the trade opportunities presented by global markets, Croatia is also emerging as a 'halal friendly' tourist destination in its own right. Across the Balkans supermarkets are starting to stock halal certified products to meet the needs of the Muslim population and the growing number of halal tourists: in Croatia alone 15 hotels, 8 restaurants and catering services, and 7 travel agencies currently hold halal certification.

The Islamic community in Croatia and south-east Europe is highly integrated and only one institution in each Balkan country is authorised to provide certification for halal products and services. There is  also a registered halal standard in Bosnia/ Herzegovina and Croatia that provides the foundations on which to provide halal certification. In this sense, south-east Europe is a unqique case of halal standardisation and accreditation that could be used a benchmark in other countries. 

As a result of the European refugee crisis there has been an increase in the number of enquiries about halal products from a growing Muslim population. As other European countries become stricter about the production and export of halal and kosher food, these opportunities are likely to increase.

This post is based on conversations with Aldin Dugonjić at the Centar za Certificiranje Halal Kvalitete in Zagreb, Croatia.

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