Why Halal Certification is Important for the Supplement Industry
The global supplement industry is expected to be worth a whopping $349.4 billion by 2026, according to Market Study Report. Fueled by changing lifestyles, greater awareness of health and nutrition, and larger disposable incomes, people around the world are purchasing more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, protein powders, and more. Why is Halal Certification relevant for this industry? A combination of market size and nature of the products. There will be strong demand from young health-conscious Muslims in the US and Europe, as well as globally. Some of the fastest growth in the supplement market is expected in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to the vast majority of the world’s Muslims – approximately 986 million, according to Pew Research.
Halal certification is particularly important for this industry due to the highly processed nature of most products. Around the world, Muslim consumers want to be sure that anything they buy is free from pork, alcohol, and ingredients derived from animals not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic tradition. Virtually all supplements and nutraceuticals are in processed forms, meaning that it is impossible to identify all of the ingredients. For observant Muslims, these types of products – whether it is prepared food, beverages, or supplements - cannot be assumed to be Halal unless they are certified as such. Unlike an apple or a potato, for example, one can’t be sure of the exact contents. Muslim customers will be looking for a Halal seal prominently displayed on the package of any supplement they buy.
Secondly, so many supplements do contain ingredients that are not Islamically permissible. For example, whey protein products require certification because whey is produced through a process that uses enzymes known as rennet, which can come from bovine or microbial sources.
If it comes from cows, the cow must have been slaughtered accordingly to Islamic dietary law in order for the rennet, and thus the whey to be considered Halal. According to Market Data Forecast, the global market for whey protein in this year is estimated to be $7.4 billion, with $2.64 billion of that in North America and $2.79 billion in Europe.
Halal-certified whey is essential to appeal to young American and European Muslims who are interested in health and nutrition while maintaining their faith traditions. Also important is the Asia-Pacific area, predicted to reach $1.57 billion in 2025 and fast-growing like the rest of the sector. To appeal to the huge Muslim populations of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, whey protein manufacturers should ensure that their products are certified by an internationally recognized Halal certifier like ISA.
In addition, gelatin from pork or non-Halal beef is often used in capsules for vitamins, minerals, or other supplements, or in gummy vitamins aimed at children. Similarly, collagen, amino acids, proteins, fatty acids, certain vitamins, and many other common supplements are often – or always - derived from animal sources, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. Since there are so many supplements that are potentially not permissible, these products need Halal certification to assure Muslim consumers that ingredients do not come from pork or non-Halal certified animals.
Another reason that Halal certification can add value to supplements and nutraceuticals is the rampant substitution and adulteration that plagues the industry. Supplements are poorly regulated and are some of the most adulterated products on the market. Consumers cannot rely on government agencies like the FDA or the USDA to assure them that supplements contain exactly what they say they do, or even that they are entirely safe to use! Halal certification address those concerns for Muslims and non-Muslims alike by verifying the contents and their purity, and by tracing the sourcing and handling at every step along the way.
According to an article published on Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, dietary supplements may have cheaper ingredients substituted in place of more expensive listed ingredients, or even have active drugs added to supplements advertised as purely botanical. Between 2007 and 2016, the FDA identified nearly 750 brands of supplements that had been adulterated with pharmaceutical agents, but typically responded with requests for a voluntary recall which is often ignored. As a result, many consumers have well-founded concerns about the purity and safety of dietary supplements. Whether or not they are Muslim, the added assurance of Halal certification contributes to consumer confidence that the product accurately described, high-quality ingredients.
If your company manufactures supplements or other nutritional products, we highly recommend Halal certification to make sure your product will be trusted by consumers and appeal to the widest possible market.
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