Unilever Philippines will begin exporting halal products to markets in southeast Asia, after obtaining certification for a new factory south of the country’s capital, Manila.
The site in Cavite was certified halal in the past few months and will be instrumental in growing Unilever’s halal business in the region. According to research published last year, the global halal market is worth more than $3.6 trillion – and growth is being driven by markets in Asia.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim market in the world with 205 million Muslims – while Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines add a further 26 million, according to the Pew Research Center.
“It’s the first time we’re exporting halal products because the factory was just recently halal-certified – just this January or February,” Unilever Philippines CEO Benjie Yap told reporters at a briefing this week, as reported by the Philippines’ Business Mirror. “We’re looking at exporting to Malaysia, which would require some halal products, and also expanding to other Muslim countries across southeast Asia.”
The new halal factory is part of PHP 1.7 billion’s ($34 million) worth of investment in Unilever’s Filipino operations.
“There are also some products we’re importing right now that we’re reviewing if we can localise them for export. There are different products for review. Once the review is finalised, there will be future investments coming in,” Yap told Business Mirror.
The move comes after BRF created a new business unit for the production and distribution of products destined for Muslim markets, as the Brazilian company – the world’s largest exporter of poultry – sought to gain new ground in the Middle East.
Dubai-based One Foods Holdings is targeting the halal animal protein market in countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, where BRF claimed to already control 45% of the poultry products market.
It quickly acquired a majority stake in Banvit, the largest poultry producer in Turkey, as part of a $470 million deal.
And in March, FoodBev reported that BRF was investigating the sale of a stake in One Foods instead of an initial public offering (IPO) as first expected.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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