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Challenge of the Halal food certificate for Food marketing

- Implications from the Local Branding strategy of Thailand

Kiyoto KUROKAWA, Yokohama National University *

Key WordsHalal, Food Safety, Brand strategy, OTOP, Geographical Indications (GI)
JEL Code: R58

1. Introduction
In Thailand, Halal food certificate is an emerging new business for exporting foods to
Muslim countries. We will have two billion Muslims in some 110 countries, who are expected
to make up 30% of the global population by 2025. It is very important for the Muslim
consumers to know the contents of the foods. One of the good solutions is Halal certification
Thailands Halal exports were 5.19 billion baht in 2008, a rise of 53.3% from 3.38 billion in
2007. In 2009, Halal exports reached to 8.36 billion baht. For exports to the Muslim countries,
Halal food certificate is indispensable. Islam has 1.57 billion adherents, making up 23% of the
world population. Actually, even in Japan Halal food shops are increasing.
In Thailand, some southern provinces are famous for Muslim. So, previous Muslim studies in
Thailand were mostly for southern provinces. However, we have recognized recent progress of
Halal business in northern Thailand, ChaingMai. Why are they so enthusiastic about Halal? Our
research motivation is to understand the real needs of Halal foods in non-Muslim society and to
learn lessons from the experiences in northern Thailand.
To answer these research questions, the author conducted field survey in North Thailand and
Universities related to food business in Thailand. And to understand the recent Japanese Halal
business, the author also conducted interview survey about Halal food shops in Japan.
Our preliminary research verified those facts such as (i) Halal foods business is expanding in
non-Muslim society, (ii) Halal certification process is a continuous process of trial and error,
(iii) Halal certification is a good chance to up-grade the security of foods trade, and (iv) Halal
food logo brings new branding value toward community.

2. Literature Review
2.1 What is Halal food?
In Islam, everything is permitted (Halal) to consume except some prohibited (Haram).
Basically, four types of food have been deemed Haram "unlawful" for Muslims in the Quran.
These are (i) The flesh of a dead animal (ii) Blood (iii) Pig meat and (iv) meat not slaughtered
according to Islamic Law.
Accordingly, non Muslims concern is mainly Pig meat. However, there is a strict definition
of Halal foods by CODEX. (See box-1)
Box-1. Definition of Halal, (3.1.1.Food of Animal origin)
(a) Pigs and boars.(b) Dogs, snakes and monkeys.
(c) Carnivorous animals with claws and fangs such as lions, tigers, bears and other similar
animals.(d) Birds of prey with claws such as eagles, vultures, and other similar birds.
(e) Pests such as rats, centipedes, scorpions and other similar animals.
(f) Animals forbidden to be killed in Islam i.e., ants, bees and woodpecker birds.
(g) Animals which are considered repulsive generally like lice, flies, maggots and other similar
animals.(h) Animals that live both on land and in water such as frogs, crocodiles and other
similar animals. (i) Mules and domestic donkeys. (j) All poisonous and hazardous aquatic
animals.(k) Any other animals not slaughtered according to Islamic Law.(l) Blood.
Source: CODEX (1997) General guidelines for use of the term HALAL
The CODEX definition looks like perfect, but there are some vague expressions. Especially,
for Thai people some definitions such as similar animals are difficult to understand. For
instance, the people of Isan, northeast region of Thailand, famously eat a wide variety of
creatures, such as lizards, frogs and fried insects such as grasshoppers, silkworms and dung
beetles. [22]
*Kiyoto KUROKAWA, Graduate School and Research Institute of Environment and Information Sciences,
Yokohama National University
Address: 79-1 Tokiwadai, Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501 JAPAN
Tel/Fax:+81-45-339-4498 e-mail:

In Malaysia, there is a practical definition. And they expanded the concept of Halal toward
some non-food products. Those Halal products includes Halal Cosmetics, Ladie's, Men's
Toiletries, Halal Health Supplements, Herbal, Non-Herbal, Halal Medicines. [11]
2.2 Latest research on Halal foods in Japan
There are only limited researches on Halal food in Japan. One of the most complete studies
was conducted by Japan Food Industry Centre, The Outline of Malaysian Halal food System
[8]. The study revealed the Malaysian government has firm policy for Halal business and can be
the world Halal standard. Muto from Shariah Research Institute, Takushoku University also
described Halal product concepts in his paper. And there are some case studies for Indonesia as
well. But there is no Halal study for Thailand in Japan.
One of the related studies is a nutritious study in Thailand. Watanabe et al conducted a case
study on nutrient intake of students of Chiang Mai University and pointed out that the breakfastskip rate was 43.0% and these students must be in need of nutrition guidance. [25]
There is no intention to understand Hala food issues in this study, but it suggested strong
needs of nutrition education. In Islamic countries had a high prevalence of Anemia. [15]
Accordingly, present Halal research includes dietetics. Another related research in Japan could
be about recent development of Islamic financial sector. The concept of Halal is also under
discussion in Islamic financial system. [18]
2.2 World research trend on Halal related business
2.2.1 Halal Market
The world Muslim population in 2009 is 1657.6 million and is increasing at 1.84% [3]
This section provides background on the global economy that make it important for the food
industry to have a better understanding of Halal.
In China, they have many Muslims in the country about 30 million, or 2.3% of the Chinese
population. Two billion Muslims in some 110 countries, who are expected to make up 30% of
the global population by 2025. [2]
Shaari et al examined the determinants of Halal food purchase. [20] They found that a Halal
label is an important factor for Muslim in choosing product and as source of information of the
contained ingredients. Having educational and/or information label would educate potential
customer. For our preliminary study, we have added some components such as food security and
income to this analysis. (See Figure-1) Income level is quite significant. Exports to Middle East
countries are increasing in accordance to their economic growth.
Halal Logo

Halal Market


Food security
Figure-1: Halal purchase determinants. Source Shaari adapted by Kurokawa Kiyoto

But these assumptions are not yet clearly verified by the previous studies.
2.2.1 Comparative study among Halal, Kosher, CODEX, GMP and HCCAP
Both Halal rules and modern food managemnt systems have similer ideas sometimes.
Regenstein examined the difference between Halal and Kosher. [17] The most urgent task must
be bridging the gap between international food safety standards and Halal standards. In U.S.,
Kosher and Halal are an important part of the food industry. In Thailand, GMP good
manufacturing practiceand HCCAP are in mainstream.
2.2.2 Nutrition study on Halal food

To avoid meats and some foods could cause some nutrition problems such as lack of Vitamin
and Iron. Porkaew examined nutritious difference between Halal and general Thai food and
concluded that there was no significant difference in dietary iron and iron availability. But the
average daily absorption was insufficient to meet the iron requirement. [15]
2.2.3 Slaughter study
In Halal manner, rules and regulations are different among Muslim countries. According to
Regenstein, the extrapolation to all religious slaughter is inappropriate until good
measurements are made.[16] There are different views within the Muslim community as to
how to slaughter.
2.2.4 Case study and Forum
Malaysia had a specific Halal port for exports, while Thailand lacks such a facility. We have
many case studies for Indonesia, Malaysia and other Muslim countries, but almost nothing for
Halal in Thailand. At present, Halal related world forum is in fashion.

3. Emerging Halal business in Thailand

3.1 Government policy for Halal business

Thailands export-oriented food industry brings in about $10 billion dollars annually and
comprises up to 28.3% of Thailands gross domestic product (GDP). [2] The government has
established a policy to develop Thailand as the Kitchen of the World. Accordingly, Halal
business is essential. Muslim population in Thailand is about 5 to 6 million and mainly they are
living in southern provinces. Thailand is the world's 12th largest food supplier, with its exports
accounting for 2.4 per cent of global food trade. However, Thailand's Halal exports had only a
0.65percent share of the market worth $1.71 billion in 2006. [24]
Both central and local governments have many food related agencies. In addition; Kasetsart
University has unique food related research laboratories such as Institute of Food Research and
Product Development (IFRPD). For Halal standard, Chulalongkorn University established Halal
Science Centre (HSC) in 2003. (See Figure-2)
Central Government Agency
1. National Food Institute (NFI)
2. National Center of Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology (BIOTEC)
3. National Food Committee

Muslim Agency
1.Central Islamic Committee(CICOT)

2.Institute for Halal Food Standard

Kitchen of the
Local Government Agency
University Laboratory
(In case of ChiangMai)
1.Chulalongkorn University
Chiang Mai Brand Committee
Halal Science Centre (HSC)
Industrial Promotion Center, (IPC)
2.Kasetsart University
Ministry of Industry
Figure -2 Governments and Universities assistances for Halal Food promotion
Source: Meat Trade News, Thailand, The Nation etc. Prepared by Kiyoto KUROKAWA

3.2 Food quality, safety and food education.

The National Food Committee approved new strategies, focusing on the drive to promote
Thailands food security with international management standards. The strategies call for (1)
food quality and safety, (2)food security, and (3)food education. [23]
According to Ms Srirat, director-general of the Department of Export Promotion,Thailand,
consumer confidence in the quality and authenticity of halal products was a key factor and that
producers should focus on adding value to their offerings
-30 and differentiating themselves by creating products such




as healthy or organic halal food and cosmetics. [1]

The scientific food inspection system is well established in laboratories in Thailand. However,
for Halal certification process, there is some process beyond science such as Slaughter study.
And we have more difficulties for Halal science. As far as we have observed, supply chain of
the Halau foods should be reexamined. Especially, frozen meats are not in a suitable condition
at the retail shops.
Table-1: Life of Frozen meats
The best before date for frozen meats are generally two years. But this life
can be achieved under storage condition of minus 30 centigrade. Most of the
Adopted by Kiyoto KUROKAWA
Halal meats in shops are stored by the general refrigerators. Probably, the
expected life is under one month. The actual conditions should be examined shortly.
3.3 Central government Agencies
For the food industries, there are several agencies and committees under the Ministry of
Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Commerce. The recent development of Halal
food business is mainly under the following organizations.
The National Food Institute (NFI)
The technological services department under NFI assists processors in the implementation of
GMP or HACCP safety systems in food production.
The National Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC)
The food research and innovation promotion program also supports basic research towards
the development of nutraceuticals and functional food products as well as food standards and
food safety. It aims to develop starter culture technology for the fermentation of Thai traditional
The Institute for Halal Food Standard of Thailand
The Institute was established in 2003 by the Thai government and works closely with The
Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. The main responsibilities are Auditor Training,
Organizing National and International Halal Seminars, Publication of Halal information,
Collect Data including Number of Business Holders, Slaughter man, Halal Slaughtering ,
Supervisor and Slaughtering Statistic.
The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand
The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand accredits companies based on a scientific
standard for Halal Food. The main function of the committee is to issue certificate for use of
Halal Logo (See figure-3)

Halal Logo for

Thai Azinomoto

Thai Halal Logo

Halal Logo for

Fish sauce
Halal Logo for
canned Mackerel


Photo-1 Thai Foods with Halal Logo Photo by Kiyoto KUROKAWA

Local government initiative for Halal business

3.2.1 Paradigm sift from industrialization to rural development
Thai governance system was described as ABCM system. [12] A means Authority represented

by King, B means bureaucracy including technocrats, C means capitalists and M means

Military. But former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra changed this paradigm to local basedeconomy. His new local development policies include the One Tambon One Product (OTOP)
initiative. One of the good innovations was introduction local branding strategy such as OTOP
logo and Geographical Indications (GI).
3.2.2 OTOP logo
OTOP is very familiar to people in Thailand, especially for food. It is a symbol of good quality
products. According to Tourism Authority of Thailand, Approved products of high quality are
granted the privilege of utilizing the specially designed OTOP label. What appears to be the
letter O at first glimpse is actually an artistic rendition of the number 1 in Thai script. And
Top means top quality as well. That is why OTOP was so friendly to Thai people.
3.2.3 Geographical Indications (GI)
GI is intended to designate product quality, highlight brand identity, and
preserve cultural traditions..[7] Chiang Mai has assigned this brand name
Chiang Mai Brand as a symbol to represent the high quality of the products,
which have reached international standards. And it is also intended to exclude
faked and copy products. In order to reach this standard, it has been necessary to
focus on creating a New Attitude, Corporate Image and Provincial Image under
the management of the Chiang Mai Brand Committee [21]
3.2.4 Chiang Mai Brand in the world
The Chiang Mai Provincial Commerce Office has established market places to Brand Logo
promote and sell Chiang Mai Brand products which include food and agro products, textiles
and clothes, decorative items, gifts and souvenirs. It is a group of qualified manufacturers who
have capability to export their products and passed requirements of Thailands ministry of
commerce. Until 2007, there are 99 authorized enterprises to use Chiang Mai brand on their
Chiang Mai Brand will be promoted in new markets in Scandinavian countries and the USA.
Chiang Mai has signed a contract to rent a 5000 square-metre section at China ASEAN Trade
City in China to display and sell its brand products. It targeted other markets including Kunming
and Yunnan in China, United Arab Emirates and France in 2007. [4]
3.3 New role of universities for Halal business
The government encouraged Halal science by providing research funds to universities. The
expected role of the universities include understandings of Halal as a business ethics, trainings
for Halal practice and scientific inspections for Halal foods.
3.3.1 Chulalongkorn University
Halal Science Centre (HSC)
The government established the Halal Science Centre (HSC) under Chulalongkorn
University. The Center began as the central laboratory and scientific information center for
Halal Food Development in 2003. At present, HSC has established a nationwide Halal study
network with other universities in Thailand.
3.3.2 Kasetsart University
Kasetsart University was established in 1943 with the prime aims in promoting subjects
related to agricultural sciences. Accordingly, there are many laboratories for Agri-business.
Institute of Food Research and Product Development (IFRPD)
IFRPD is conducting Halal related projects such as Human Resource and Halal Thai Food
Process Development Project. The project has been implemented since 2003. At the present,
food recipes and production processes of canned and retort pouch food are available via web
site to publics.

4. Conclusion and policy implications

The food industry is challenged to accommodate the wide range of complex needs identified
in this introductory article about Halal.
1. Halal food business was strongly assisted by government agencies and universities.

2. The study in ChiangMai revealed that the recent progress was mainly conducted by local
government agencies and committees.
3. The motivation of the local government was a success of recent local business especially
promoted by OTOP initiative started from 2003.
4. The local branding strategy in Thailand was dramatically expanded after the introduction of
Thai Geographical Indications Protection Act in 2004.
5. Awareness of food ingredient in Halal food certification process brought general concern on
food risks. But the research and process is still under quite initial stage.
Reservations and suggestions for future research
In this preliminary survey, the following are still unknown and further studies badly needed.
1. Halal process beyond science, especially slaughter study.
2. Logistic services of the Halal product supply chain, especially frozen meats.
[1] Bangkok Post 26/04/2010
[2] BOI (2008) Food Industry, Board of Investment (BOI), Thailand
[3] Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2009
[4] ChiangMai News
[5] CODEX (1997) General Guidelines For Use Of The Term HALAL adopted by the Codex
Alimentarius Commission at its 22nd Session, 1997.
[6] CODEX (2010) General Guidelines For Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 11985) Adopted 1985. Amended 1991, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
[7] Geographical Indications
[8] Japan Food Industry Centre, (2009) The Outline of Malaysian Halal food System
[9] Kalra1 Ekta K (2003) Nutraceutical - Definition and Introduction AAPS PharmSci
[10] Karijn Bonne and Wim Verbeke (2008) Religious values in forming Halal meat production
and the control and delivery of Halal credence quality Agriculture and Human Values
[12] Mikawa Kazuhisa (2010) The root of the evil, retreat of Thai democracy and social goal.
The Thailand observation Vol44 No.4 The Japan Thailand Association (written in Japanese)
[14] Muto Hidetoshi Halal Products For better understandings about Islamic market 2005.7.25
Shari'a Study No.2 pp.265308 Shariah Research Institute, Takushoku University, Japan
[15] Porkaew Siriluk, (2009) Determination of Iron Availability from Halal Food. Mahidol
University, Thailand
[16] Regenstein Joe M., Chaudry M.M., and Regenstein C.E.,2007 The Kosher and Halal Food
Laws Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
[17] Regenstein Joe M. (2007) Kosher, Halal and Noahide Slaughter Ethical
Consideration Southern Poultry Science Society Atlanta, GA, Cornell Kosher Food Initiative
[18] Sakurai Hideko(2008) Islamic financial system How to understand donation and exchange
system Shin-Hyoron (Written in Japanese)
[20] Shaari Jamal Abdul Nassir and Arifin Nur Shahira bt Mohd, 2007, Dimension of Halal
Purchase Intention: A Preliminary Study
[20] Surayuth Songsumud, Thailand Halal Certification and Standard, Bureau of Livestock
Standard and Certification, Department of Livestock Development, Thailand
[21] Thai Geographical Indications Protection Act (April, 2004)
[22] Thailand Gateway
[23 ] Thailand PRD
[24] The Nation Phuket Published on June 23, 2010
[25] Watanabe Toshiaki, Fujita Yuko R.Asadondecha, N.Tananone and N.Rattanapanone (2007), A
Study on Nutrient Intake of Students in Urban ChiangMai University of Hyogo, Japan