IFANCA–Leader in Promoting Halal to America's Consumers
February 2010 ISSN 1533-3361
ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
IFANCA–Leader in Promoting Halal to America's Consumers
By Kari Ansari
Dr. Muhammad M. Chaudry has planted little halal-certified seeds in Times Square–right in the heart of New York City. He doesn't expect the seeds to germinate anytime soon, but that's okay, Dr. Chaudry is a patient man. He's been promoting halal in North America for more than three decades.
Thirty years ago, a trip to the grocery store was a guessing game for Muslim consumers. Halal food labeling was found only in the few ethnic markets in large city centers; halal-certified foods were non-existent in supermarket chains where the majority of a family's shopping was done. A Muslim in America spent an inordinate amount of time scouring food labels for haram ingredients such as lard, gelatin, and alcohol, often unaware that the same prohibited ingredients were veiled in names like "Hydrolyzed Collagen". Rumors and doubts flew in circles like buzzards over a dead cow: "Your toothpaste is haram!" "Don't eat 'Crispy' brand chips, there is pork in them!" "Can I eat cheese?"
Then along came the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA)–established in 1980 by a group of concerned Muslim food scientists and nutritionists. IFANCA began by publishing a newsletter with "good and bad" lists of food and health products to share with the American Muslim community. One of the principal founders and the current President of IFANCA, Dr. Chaudry, says, "As soon as we'd publish a good/bad list of products, the list would be obsolete due to ever-changing ingredients in the manufacturing process." It was a haram/halal wilderness for the burgeoning Muslim American community. IFANCA sought to make it easier through their research, scholarship, books, conferences, symposia and their website, www.ifanca.org and now www.halal.com.
In 1988, the McDonald's corporation sought halal certification for its restaurants in Singapore, as a result of market competition from A&W Restaurants. In order to gain the trust and confidence in their newly expanding presence in Singapore and Malaysia, McDonald's was informed that not only the meat in the burgers had to be halal, but also everything from fries to milkshakes had to be certified in order for the restaurant to be considered halal. McDonalds contracted IFANCA to certify as halal the products sold to restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia.
This major contract helped IFANCA establish a halal certification process that is sought after by today's food, health and nutritional products manufacturers. Halal certification by IFANCA gives companies the right to display the Crescent M® halal label on their product. The Crescent M mark is fast becoming the most easily recognizable halal mark – removing all doubt from consumer goods.
IFANCA has certified over 20,000 products in over 55 countries, and is the leader in halal certification of foods, nutritionals and cosmetics in North America. With offices in Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, China, Brussels, India, and Malaysia, IFANCA reaches far and wide in its influence over the certification process. Halal certification authorities around the globe recognize IFANCA's work.
The next focus for IFANCA, beyond promoting halal to American corporations and Muslims, is to reach out to the non-Muslim consumer and educate them on the benefits of buying halal. This is where the advertisement in Times Square begins a new era for halal and IFANCA.
The huge digital advertisement that resides just below the infamous CBS Eye logo on the network's building is currently running a simple ad featuring the Crescent M Halal symbol and the statement: "Healthy and Wholesome Products", with the IFANCA website address, once an hour. The curious consumer can find pages on the IFANCA website targeted specifically toward the non-Muslim, with general information extolling the benefits of looking for halal-certified products. The pages appeal to the conscientious American consumer by explaining in secular terms what Muslims believe regarding food, the ethical treatment of animals, and the environment. There is also discussion on the health and nutritional benefits to buying halal-certified products. It's a tiny seed being planted in the consumer's mind, but one that Dr. Chaudry is sure will bloom in another ten years when the majority of Americans understand that halal and the Crescent M halal mark mean healthy, wholesome and ethical for all of humanity.
This article was originally published in Halal Connect, a flagship publication of the American Halal Association.
Maria Omar is a recent addition to IFANCA's Media Relations team. Maria will be working on increasing IFANCA-developed information to expand and enhance the visibility of halal. Other goals include making IFANCA an even more accessible resource for halal ingredients and product information through online, print and broadcast media.
Maria, a marketing and advertising professional, has expertise in public relations, media planning and buying, as well as social media marketing. She has previously interned and worked in various communication capacities at GEO Television, Insight Communications, Council of American and Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), Dimeo & Company, The San Jose Group, Xyltus Inc., and Halal.com. Maria has a bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and more recently, an MSC Communications degree from Northwestern University.
"Nostalgic and 'retro' foods have helped drive continued sales value growth in the UK food and beverage market even as the country continues to be in a recession."
Tighter purses are making consumers avoid trendy, sustainable and ethical products.
The next big trend will be healthy confectionary and "better-for-you-ingredients".
True. According to a new report from Leatherhead Food Research in the UK, consumers are turning to comfort foods and those that remind them of happier economic times. Birdseye's Arctic Roll, a frozen dessert which was popular in the UK during the 1970s and 80s, for instance, is back on the shelves after it had been discontinued in the 90's. Jellies and canned foods are other comfort foods that are doing well, despite the recession. According to Chris Brockman, Market Research Manager at Leatherhead: "The nostalgia trend has intensified this year: People are going back to comfort foods and emotional eating."
False. Quite the contrary. That segment of the food industry is thriving despite the recession, according to market researcher, Packaged Facts. "With the economy foremost in consumers' minds, heightened price sensitivity in the midst of the current recession is inevitably having an effect on the market for ethical products," said Packaged Facts publisher, Don Montuori. "However, our survey indicates that more shoppers understand the environmental, social, and economic implications of their choices. The result is a sizeable number of consumers who will purchase typically more expensive ethical products even in economically challenging times."
True. According to the experts surveyed for the National Confectioners Association's Confectionery Industry Trend Report 2009, healthy confectionary will be the next big thing. Consumers are already leaning towards smaller portion-sized treats, heart healthy dark chocolate and green packaging.
The American Halal Association (AHA) is a non-profit Association that has been formed to provide a common platform for the stakeholders in the Halal industry in North America. Halal Connect magazine, its flagship publication, featured IFANCA in their pilot issue. Titled 'IFANCA: Leader in Promoting Halal to America's Consumers,' the article looks at the rise of IFANCA, from its beginnings with its "Good and Bad Lists of Ingredients", to its foray into Times Square last year, where it advertised halal on the digital screen, below the CBS Eye Logo on the network’s building. The article is reprinted here.
The IFANCA website (www.ifanca.org) also made it to Halal Connect magazine's list of Cool Websites under the B2B Category.
"Sky Radio Network - Producers Of The #1 Talk Show For Airlines Features IFANCA In Interview In March, April 2010
Sky Radio Network provides business, technology, health and entertainment programming to some of the largest airlines in the world, including United, American, Delta, Northwest, US Airways and Virgin America. A blend of CEO interviews, industry spotlights and major business trends, each show contains a lead cover interview as well as a variety of ongoing features, spotlights and special interest topics.
Addressing the needs and interests of millions of business and leisure travelers, Sky Radio airs an interview with Dr. Chaudry, President, IFANCA, about the global and US halal market. Initially all international flights of US airways will carry the interview, as will their in-flight magazine.
You don't have to be an airline passenger to listen to their programming. Click on the link to access programs currently "in the air". Dr. Chaudry's interview will be rebroadcast online in the 'Now Airing' section under the category of US Airways for a period of 1 year, after which it will be accessible in their archives and listed in alphabetical order.
Since 1912, Bell Flavors and Fragrances has created and delivered Flavors, Fragrances, Botanicals, and Ingredients that stimulate and captivate the senses. In today's Flavor & Fragrance Industry, the company's reputation as a leader stems from its exceptional customer service, high quality products and product innovation.
With manufacturing facilities in 5 countries, Research and Development in 10 countries, and Sales offices in 40 countries, they are well positioned globally to meet the needs of their clients. Numerous flavors and fragrances manufactured at their plants in the USA and Canada have been certified as halal by IFANCA. These products are sold in North America and exported all over the world. The products include aroma chemicals and flavors for beverages, confection, bakery products, vanilla, snack foods, botanicals, savory and seafood flavors, as well as fragrances for personal care and household products.
Cholesterol Free, No Preservatives Artificial Colors or Flavors and Still Delicious!
Yes, it's cholesterol-free, has no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors and is both halal and delicious! Unbelievable but true! This candy is sold in the USA and Canada, by Asti Holdings, as the Golden Bonbon brand. The family's unique recipe established their reputation as impeccable makers of Torrone or Almond Nougat Candy, making the sweet a living heritage for three generations of the Mazzucco family.
If you're not Italian, you may or may not be familiar with this Almond Nougat candy, Torrone. A popular traditional Italian candy, it's made from honey, almonds and eggs. Historically, the candy was reserved for special functions or offerings. Other cultures are known to have a similar version. The Arabs are reputed to have introduced almond nougat to Spain.