Author, Sabariah Yaakub
Reading through an article on Halal branding triggered some very interesting thoughts. This particular article was proposing that Halal Branding seriously consider the Halal paradigm as demonstrating an area where cognitive, affective and conative decision-making patterns are affected by risk minimisation. The authors introduced a concept of At-Talazum, Arabic for joining together, with inferences towards fusing and moulding used in an Islamic context to describe the correct approach for a Muslim to adopt. Furthermore, deciding whether to consume a product is also based on a Think-feel-do – Halal value-chain approach where every stage and component is scrutinised rationally, according to their functional and materialistic elements, which necessitate textual justification. The authors put forth the following diagram to explain the concept of Halal decision-making paradigm for Muslim consumer consumption.
Put simply, Muslim consumers make their decision on whether to buy the products based on scrutinization of the processes in the value chain and of risk minimization. Coupled with the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report as published by Thomson Reuters in 2014 prediction that by 2030, Muslim population worldwide will grow to 2.2 billion with the size of the global Halal food industry is estimated to be worth USD 2.537 bn by 2019, it further signifies that Muslims would demand the assurance that the food they consume is a true manifestation of Halal principles, as commanded in the Quran (Al-Baqarah: 172: Muslims to consume Halal food, to prohibit that which is haram and to avoid doubtful things).
This is particularly interesting for someone like me who comes from a supply chain and logistics background. We have always known that marketing and logistics are particularly tied to each other. Marketing makes promises and logistics deliver them. If this proposition that Halal branding is closely linked to scrutinization of the value chain and minimizing risks, then it follows that supply chain management, where logistics is a component, of the Halal branded products should be infused with Halal principles (goes very well with the concept of At-Talazum introduced earlier) and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination so that it would stand under scrutiny.
Muslim consumers, with a greater understanding of Halal and possessing greater knowledge in Halal food consumption and purchase, are more particular and sensitive to products or services offered in the market. It is true that manufacturers and marketers could utilise the Halal certification indicated by the Halal logo on the (food) packaging, to notify and assure the consumer that the product is Halal or Sharia-compliant. However, just having the Halal logo is not enough. Products could quickly lose its Halal status when cross-contamination occur anywhere in the supply chain.
The point that I am trying to convey is that just getting a Halal logo and stick it on the product is not enough, we must ensure that the whole supply chain adheres to principles of Halal to ensure that the product is not contaminated from the point of origin to the point of consumption. It, therefore, point to a need to have a Halal supply chain system. A Halal supply chain would ensure the process of managing the purchase, transfer, storage, and control of material parts, livestock, partially finished or finished inventory of consumable and non-consumable products, and related data and certification flow through the business and the supply chain in a Sharia-compliant way.
Some scholars in Halal logistics, such as Tieman, Zailani, Wilson and Liu, and Lodhi, for example, iterated that through Halal logistics, Halal assurance is addressed in all key stages in the logistics and supply chain activities to ensure that all Halal products are protected from non-Halal elements until they arrive at their final destination and measures to protect Halal products from any potential contaminants should be established. In short, what we need now is not just another Halal certification on the product, we also need Halal certification on the supply chain processes itself. It would be very assuring, as a Muslim consumer myself, to know that when the product has a Halal logo, it doesn’t just mean that the product’s ingredient is Halal, it also means that the Halal product has gone through a Halal supply chain when it is served at my table – A double Halal Helix.