Hannover. HALAL HANNOVER, Germany's first-ever trade show for halal products and services, opens on 6 March and runs for three days, closing on 8 March, at the Hannover Exhibition Center. The premiere will feature some 60 exhibitors from Germany and abroad and will focus on halal food, beverages, cosmetics, financial services and travel. The exhibition component of the show is supported by a three-day conference program featuring experts from Germany and around the world.

"Halal is an Arabic word denoting things and actions which are permissible under Islamic law," said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, a member of the Managing Board of the show's organizer, Deutsche Messe. "Halal stands for an holistic way of living that spans almost all areas of daily life. The new show provides a business and knowledge-sharing platform for the halal industry." That is not to say that HALAL HANNOVER is a trade-only event; interested consumers and members of the general public are welcome to attend on days two and three.

The growing market for halal products

In Europe, and indeed worldwide, the market for halal products is growing rapidly. Europe's 30 million-plus Muslim population constitutes a very large consumer market for halal products, and Germany alone is home to about 5 million Muslims, who require halal food and products every day. On this basis, the annual market potential in Germany is estimated at about five billion euros.

Not that Germany's Muslim population is the only market for halal food and products. Specialty items, such as foods and ingredients from the Middle East, are also highly prized by the country's non-Muslim population as welcome enrichments to the local cuisine. "That is why we have designed HALAL HANNOVER to have broad appeal beyond our strictly Muslim community," Gruchow explained. "As well as targeting Muslims, the show is aimed at health-conscious consumers with preferences for vegan and organic food and cosmetics."

Broad range of themes

Visitors at HALAL HANNOVER will encounter a diverse range of products and services from big-name providers. Among the exhibiting providers of halal foods are Ciftci, Demka, CFM-Multicost, Honeyletter, Jack Link's, Indasia, Nimex International and Yörem.

The exhibitor list also includes manufacturers of halal cosmetic products, such as Beautylope, LaNaturel and Fair Squared. Apart from their obvious relevance to Muslim consumers, halal cosmetics are attractive to non-Muslims because they contain no alcohol and no animal-derived or genetically modified ingredients. Halal travel is also a focus theme at the show and will be addressed by such exhibitors as Balcok Travel Agency. Based in Essen, Balcok Travel Agency offers pilgrimages.

HALAL HANNOVER will also feature extensive information and guidance on the subject of halal certification. This topic area is of particular relevance to exporters of halal products because halal product certification is not standardized across Europe, let alone worldwide. Exporters therefore need expert advice to ensure that they select certifiers who are accredited for the countries they wish to export into.

Islamic banking will be another fascinating topic at HALAL HANNOVER. Islamic banks do not lend money in return for interest, nor do they engage in transactions of a speculative nature or do business with companies that are involved in the arms, tobacco or alcohol industries or which process or trade in pork. Visitors to the show will be able to visit displays run by such organizations as the financial services provider INAIA and the digital banking service insha, where they will learn about innovative savings and investment products that comply with the precepts of Islamic banking.

By offering this broad sweep of topics, HALAL HANNOVER is targeting a broad range of visitors. In particular, its target visitors include the wholesale and retail sector, supermarkets and the hospitality industry, including restaurants, cafés, fast-food outlets, catering firms and hotels, as well as schools, food laboratories, hospitals and care facilities. In other words, it targets all institutions and organizations where food is processed and/or offered for consumption. Its target visitor market also includes manufacturers, distributors and stockists of cosmetic products, tour operators, travel agencies and consumers.

International conference program

The show's three-day Halal Hannover Conference program boasts the same diversity of stimulating and relevant topics. The conference is a platform where decision-makers and thought leaders from the international halal industry can meet to discuss current trends and new challenges. The program has a strong focus on certification and quality assurance of halal products, retail, logistics, halal travel and Islamic banking. The big highlights of the first day of the conference include a GIES (Global Islamic Economy Summit) Round Table event. It will be the first time that the world's leading summit on the Islamic economy has held a round table in German-speaking Europe. The Halal Hannover Conference will be opened by Belit Onay, Lord Mayor of Hannover, Dr. Artur Ickstadt, of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Aiman Mazyek, Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany.

Halal food at the show

The temporal needs of the show's exhibitors, visitors and guests will be well catered for with a selection of delicious halal food and beverages, including, of course, such staples as falafels, chicken dishes and hummus. Guests will be able to select from an array of healthy Eastern Mediterranean dishes prepared using the finest fresh herbs, spices and vegetables, followed by a selection of halal sweets, deserts and pastries.

HALAL HANNOVER runs from 6 to 8 March and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. While the first day of the show (Friday) is for trade visitors only, both weekend days are open to the general public. Tickets for trade visitors cost 25 euros. Day tickets for the Saturday and the Sunday cost 15 euros each.