Germany waking up to growing market for Muslim food

Germany has four million Muslim inhabitants but the market for halal food — produced according to Islamic law — is still in its infancy, partly because firms fear the wrath of animal rights groups. But companies are slowly waking up to this fast-growing market.

The potential market for halal food in Germany is huge. An estimated four million Muslims live in Germany, and the community is pre-programmed to grow because Muslims have a higher birth rate than non-Muslims. Halal already accounts for 17 percent of the global food market, according to the World Halal Forum based in Malaysia.

“German companies are too cautious,” says Levent Akgül of ethnic marketing agency Akkar Media in Hanover. “They don’t know the different culture and they can’t calculate the risks.”

In addition, German food retailers are worried that putting halal food products on grocery store shelves will deter non-Muslim customers, says Akgül. Advertising for halal products in Germany is still taboo for many German companies, he says.