Jonathan A.J. Wilson, University of Greenwich, UK*

Halal’, an Arabic word from the Muslim holy book of the Qur’an, can be translated simply as meaning permissible, according to the teachings of Islam. However, the call to certify products and practices formally, and subsequently label them, has given rise to a new cultural phenomenon. Demands to carry overt labels and messages, and expectations as to what halal is and should be, are on the increase inside and outside of Muslim geographies across the globe.

For economic and technological reasons, this is also transferring the domain of halal more and more to a vanguard of businesses, as opposed to being just a religious imperative driven by the clergy.

Furthermore, the current landscape of the halal industry has arrived at a crossroads, where debates consider whether halal offers opportunities for product and brand extensions, rendering it as a niche marketing approach, or if in fact it presents the opportunity to create a new business paradigm. This article offers practitioners and academics an overview and insight into an industry that has been assessed as having a worldwide value of US$2.3 trillion.

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