In Australia there are groups and websites dedicated to scouting out halal certification on Australian products and boycotting them instead of applauding them and celebrating their success in award ceremonies across the country. It’s embarrassing.
When you see a halal logo on any product it’s easy to assume that the company decided to print that logo to cater to the dietary requirements of the tiny 2% of the Australian population who are Muslim, less than half a million people.
For that to make good business sense that 2% would need to be consuming more of that product than the 98% of the population combined. No single community can eat that much Coon cheese.
In the corporate world when a product is generating consistent high revenue, with a strong loyal customer base, the next natural progression for that product is to scope sales opportunities in untapped foreign markets.
Now consider that we have a population here of just over 23 million. Your maximum potential for that product is to sell it to those 23 million people. Geographically some of our closest neighbours, who we have the easiest trading terms with, happen to have an enormous population of Muslims. Indonesia has 203 million Muslims, Malaysia has 30 million for instance. Just those two countries combined offer 10 times the opportunity for sales than in all of Australia.
Also if a company has started printing the halal logo on their product it’s most likely a feasibility test has already taken place to consider the cost-benefit ratio. Put bluntly the company would have already calculated what they stand to gain from using halal certification compared to what they will lose and from a business perspective the result has been that there was so much more to gain by selling their product using halal certification in overseas markets. It acts as a reassurance to the foreign Muslim customer that the product is compliant with their religious dietary requirements, especially coming from a non-Muslim country.
That’s exactly what these clever Australian companies have done. True blue companies like Coon, Vegemite, Four ‘n Twenty Pies, Byron Bay Cookie Company, Bega, Ingham and hundreds more. Often the costs associated with producing a separate batch of the product without the halal logo just to keep a few thousand anti-halal activists happy isn’t worth the trouble.
By adding pressure on these highly profitable companies to remove halal logos we run the risk of losing them offshore where they won’t be facing political backlash, bullying and bad publicity simply for catering to their customer needs. Today Australia exports food all over the world.
According to DFAT, in 2015 Australian agriculture and food exports totalled $46.5 billion. Over 10% of this was exports to Indonesia and Malaysia. That’s over $4.6 BILLION of revenue for the Australian economy and jobs in Warrnambool, Port Melbourne, Tatura, Bega, Bendigo and hundreds of other locations just by using the halal logo.
So think about that when Pauline Hanson tells you “Halal certification tax has been forced on us, costing Australians $10 million a year…”. Isn’t $10 million a small price to pay when we stand to make billions of dollars every year? And that example doesn’t even include the revenue generated from exports to the Middle East and any other Muslim country.
So my fellow Australians, the next time you see a product with halal certification, smile & be proud that these Australian companies are thriving in international markets, providing jobs for countless Aussie families and strengthening the Australian economy.