Unilever struggling with Indonesia halal certification

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever struggling with Indonesia halal certification

Related tags: Personal care, Henkel, Personal care brands, Indonesia

Unilever, keen to tap into the rising market of halal consumer goods across food and personal care, is up against a challenging situation in Indonesia.

The fast moving consumer goods company, which owns such popular personal care brands as Dove and Axe, reportedly has a system in place to guarantee the halal nature of its products and factories in Indonesia, but ensuring the system is upheld is proving difficult for a number of factors.

The most challenging of these is the difficulty faced in verifying that third party suppliers are meeting halal requirements, the company has explained.

“We must ensure that our suppliers and associates support our system so that our products are included in the halal criteria,”​ Unilever Indonesia senior personal care R&D operation manager, Endang Saraswat, confirmed last week. “They know that it must meet the criteria to cooperate with us.”

Huge halal

Asia is proving the driving force behind the beauty and personal care industry’s move towards the halal sector, with Indonesia and its 200 million Muslims a key country pushing this forward.

Indonesia sits alongside Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as countries which have been making recent efforts to build domestic halal output.

But the West is increasingly stepping it up too: German ingredients firm BASF recently announced​ that 145 of its products comply with international halal standard HAS 23000.

According to market research institute TechNavio, the global market for halal-certified personal care products will continue to grow by 13.7% each year up to 2019.

Training, ingredients, packaging

Unilever Indonesia notes that meeting halal accreditation is a tall order, with the entire supply chain under scrutiny for compliance.

Along with the difficulty in regulating third party suppliers, other key challenges Unilever faces include providing appropriate training for employees, ensuring the materials and ingredients used in manufacture are all halal permissible, and ensuring the correct labelling is in place on final products before retail.

“With plenty of products and materials, the risk is extremely high with just one wrong move,”​ Endang reportedly said.

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