South Korea is looking to launch a new halal food agency. To advance into one of the biggest food markets in the world, the Korean government took the first step of a recent MOU between Korea and the United Arab Emirates. And based on this MOU, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs today opened a new agency at the Korea Food Research Institute. The Ministry said that it also plans to build a halal food complex inside the food industry cluster that is now under construction in Iksan, North Jeolla Province.
Halal foods are certified according to strict Islamic dietary guidelines. All Muslims are required to consume only halal food. However, 80 percent of halal food comes from non-Muslim countries and companies. More importantly, the global halal market stood at US$1.08 trillion in 2012 and is expected to hit $1.62 trillion in 2018, consisting of 17.4 percent of the whole global farm and food market.
Due to the lack of market information and low recognition of Korean brands in the region, Korean food companies have faced difficulties in exporting their products to the Middle East and other Islamic countries. Since the late 2000s, some domestic food manufacturers like Nongshim and Pulmuone have exported some food items such as instant noodles and snacks after earning halal certifications. Thanks to the recently signed MOU with the U.A.E., the two nations will work together, sharing market information and establishing a halal food certificate system. With practical information and in-depth knowledge about the food business and consumers in the Middle East, Korean firms expect to increase the export amount up to US$1.2 billion worth of food products by 2017.
The agency will focus on analyzing halal food standards in diverse Muslim countries to provide the nation's food manufacturers with guidelines for halal-certified production and development. The Agriculture Ministry hopes the MOU and the newly-established Halal food agency could help domestic food exporters make easier inroads into the global food market by targeting some 1.8 billion Muslims.