To achieve their potential, though, Malaysian firms have been told to do more to find customers and target not only their traditional customers. There are some 180m Muslims in India, the second largest Islamic population after Indonesia
“Demand is huge now in India, and it is not only from Muslims but also from the non-Muslims,” said Mohammad Shukur Sugumaran, international footprint manager of the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), a government agency responsible for boosting Malaysia’s halal trade with the wider world.
Shakur said said Indian importers had expressed strong interest in sourcing for halal cosmetics and personal care products at the recent Global Halal India Expo in Bengaluru. According to HDC, there are currently over 100 certified halal cosmetics and personal care companies in Malaysia.
He said Indians, and especially younger Indians, have become increasingly aware in using clean, organic, healthy and safe products—each elements required for halal certification.
According to the corporation’s data, overall halal exports to India rose by 12% to MYR1.6bn (US$380m) last year from MYR1.4bn (US$340m) the previous year.
However, exports of halal cosmetics and personal care products slid to MYR166 (US$39.3m) last year from MYR173 (US$40.8m) in 2017.
Shukur said halal food and beverages were the most popular Malaysian halal category in the Indian market, despite the strict labelling regulations imposed by the country’s food regulatory body, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
“Many Malaysian F&B products such as Hup Seng crackers, Lingham’s chilli sauce and Miaow Miaow snacks are doing very well in India,” he noted.
Attracting Indian consumers
However, HDC acting chief executive Hairol Ariffien Sahari said more needs to be done my Malaysian companies to attract a wider section of Indian customers.
“Coupled with the booming e-commerce industry in the country, Malaysian firms should really seize the opportunity to tap into one of the world’s most populous countries,” he said.
“Halal-certified cosmetics were initially made to cater specifically to the Muslim community, but demand from non-Muslim consumers is also on the rise,” he added.
Meanwhile, Muzzafar Shah Hanafi, trade consul in India for Matrade, Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, said India’s long-established ties with many Muslim countries can lead it to become a major halal powerhouse of the future.
By dint of having the second biggest population overall, and the second most Muslims population, the third largest economy by purchasing power and having a vast young population, it has huge halal opportunities for businesses to venture into.
“I believe the halal revolution in India has already started, as we have seen tremendous improvement in the participation of Indian companies in global halal trade fairs in the past few years,” Muzzafar said.