A surge of demand from millennial Muslims has triggered sweeping changes in the halal sector. Previously seen as specialty foods by many mainstream establishments, halal products have been an increasingly visible presence in supermarkets over the last few years. Today, most stores dedicate some of their shelving space to halal foods, offering more choice to Muslim and non-Muslim shoppers alike in the process.
As mentioned, a key trigger for this is demand. There are currently 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet, 2.8 million of whom live in the United Kingdom. A third of that 2.8 million is below the age of 15, while only 4% of Muslims in the United Kingdom are above the age of 65. From those stats, it’s not hard to extrapolate that approximately half of all British Muslims fall under the millennial banner.
Millennials, in general, are keen to place their stamp on the world and ensure equality in all aspects. Millennial Muslims have made it a point to call for easier access to halal foods in the UK and mainstream supermarkets have listened. The size of the group alone has proven more than enough for most supermarkets to start stocking halal foods.
Most mainstream supermarkets don’t go as far as to host halal butchers. Even so, they have started to adapt.
The real growth has come in the provision of chilled halal foods. These allow supermarkets to offer foods designed with the UK’s millennial Muslims in mind while still catering for the majority of the population that does not eat halal meat regularly. This move is crucial. Some statistics indicate that there has been a 600% increase in the number of Muslims shopping in supermarket chilled aisles for food since 2013, so meeting that demand has become a key supermarket priority.
The Effect on Millennial Muslims
So, how has this move towards offering more chilled halal foods in mainstream stores affected millennial Muslims?
The key is offering variety. Many Muslims have historically found it difficult to shop in mainstream stores because they didn’t offer products suited to their needs. The rise of chilled halal goods has changed that drastically. While those searching for freshly butchered meats must often still shop at specialty stores, chilled halal foods offer Muslims more choice when shopping.
For example, those looking for a quick meal don’t have to locate a specialty store to get one. They can now pop into the local Tesco or Sainsbury’s and search the chilled food aisles instead. That’s an increase in convenience that can only have positive ramifications for millennial Muslims.
Why The Shift?
An increasing millennial Muslim population and the demand that comes from that is only part of the reason for this shift in supermarket product offering.
Halal meats have also become increasingly popular among non-Muslims. Some speculate that the reason for this is disillusionment with mainstream meat producers in the UK. A good example of this is the horsemeat scandal of 2013. This showed many shoppers how little care might go into the production of their foods.
By contrast, halal foods must meet very strict criteria if they are to earn the label. These criteria may prove attractive to non-Muslims as well as millennial Muslims.