Japanese investors have expressed interest in expanding their outlay in Thailand's halal food industry, says the National Food Institute (NFI).
NFI president Yongvut Saovapruk said Japanese businesses saw strong potential in the halal market, which is growing substantially in line with a rising Muslim population.
"The world's Muslim population is huge, around 2 billion. The figure is expected to rise to 3 billion soon and that is a very big market that many investors want to capitalise on," said Mr Yongvut.
The NFI has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japan Halal Development and Promotion, a government agency for enhancing halal food standards in Japan and promoting Japanese food products in...
He said the NFI will help provide Japanese investors essential information and the requirements to receive the official halal trademark from the Central Islamic Council of Thailand.
Mr Yongvut said Japan was one of Thailand's major trade partners and the country had been investing in Thailand's food industry for several years in order to take advantage of its plentiful supply of raw...
Thailand ranks ninth for halal food exports and has a long history of food business expertise.
"The Japanese are not familiar with halal food, which requires a deliberate process including acquiring the raw materials, the cooking process and cooking standards that have to match specific religious requirements," he said.
With support from the NFI, some famous Japanese foods such as noodles or seaweed could become halal-certified for sale in Muslim countries.
"By changing some of the procedures, the same product can be sold to a broader group of customers in those growing Muslim communities," said Mr Yongvut. Japanese investors are interested in both the domestic...
There are several halal export markets the Japanese are interested in, such as the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan, Mr Yongvut said.
"For instance, Malaysia is a Muslim country that consumes a lot of halal food and is an exporter of halal food. However, Malaysia cannot compete with Thailand because it has limited raw materials," he said.
The NFI forecast Thailand's food export value this year would grow by 5.8% from 897 billion baht in 2015.
He said halal food accounted for 300 billion baht worth of exports.
"I believe the halal food market will grow in line with overall food exports, which I think will be better this year," said Mr Yongvut.
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