Europe is home to about 44 Million Muslims and the Muslim population, both in absolute terms as well as percentage terms is expected to increase over time. None of the major economies in the region have more than 10% of the Muslim population except for Russia and Germany where 45.45% and 10.68% of the total population accounts to be following the Muslim faith respectively. As per the research done by Actual Market Research in their research report titled Europe Halal Food and Beverage Market Outlook 2026, the halal foods and beverages market in Europe grew by USD 26.28 Billion during the historical period of 2015 to 2020. It has been further forecasted that the market will be growing at a CAGR of 6% to 7% going into 2026. As Muslim demography is more favourable in Russia, Russia has the biggest chunk of market share in the region’s halal foods and beverage market.
However, for other countries in Europe, where Muslims are in minority, the halal food and beverages market has some controversial debates surrounding it. In 2018, in Austria, a regional government had proposed that people buying halal meat should have to register with authorities. In Britain, there have been instances where it has been suspected that the customers are being sold unlabelled halal meat. In Poland, until a constitutional court overturned it, Poland imposed a ban on halal and kosher slaughter. The party platform of the far-right Alternative for Germany includes a similar provision.
The 2 major points to contend against halal food and regarding the practice and the quality of food. The debate regarding stunning vs non-stunning of animals during slaughtering is not only a scientific debate but also finds grounds in religious laws and rules. Enshrined in European Union Law mandates that animals must be stunned before they are killed so that they are unconscious and do not feel pain or distress. However even though exceptions can be granted for religious practices, critics charge that halal slaughter causes unnecessary suffering at the time of death. The rules of halal are not just about the process of how the animal in question is slaughtered but also how the animal is raised. Halal principles ask for specific attention to animal’s well-being- not only at the moment of death but throughout life. Animals should not be caged or abused and no animal should see other animals getting slaughtered. As demand for processed meat has grown, producers have turned to factory farming where treatment of animals is questionable due to lack of transparency. Another point of contention is about the notion of halal meat being of inferior quality. The process of slaughter has no noted impact on the taste but many have the notion that the meat available at local halal markets in the region have meat, poultry and seafood product which are not fit enough to be commercially sold.
These soft factors cannot be quantified but significantly impacts the consumer sentiments in the market and cannot be properly quantified adequately. With increased migration of Muslims from the Middle East and Africa region to Europe has the potential to add scale to the region’s halal food and beverages market and such social factors can drag the momentum down by creating negative sentiments among the people.