A hugely popular but largely ignored global cuisine is now worth $20 billion in America
Sales of food prepared according to Islamic law are expected to hit $20 billion this year, from restaurants to supermarkets, reports Bloomberg. That figure, from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, is up 33% since 2010.
Where's the growth coming from? According to Bloomberg, it is due to both the quickly growing US Muslim population and younger customers eager to try new types of food.Whole Foods ranks halal as one of its fastest-growing categories, and has been running Ramadan promotions since 2011. According to Adnan Durrani, CEO of Whole Foods' supplier American Halal Co., about 80% of customers who buy his Saffron Road brand buy it for the food's quality, not religious reasons.
Halal food is also catching on in the restaurant space. In the last few years, the Halal Guys have gone from a New York City street cart serving gyros and other meaty dishes to a franchise with 200 units in development worldwide.
If the halal trend continues to grow, it has the potential the next "kosher" - a designation that indicates better treatment of animals, as well as special preparations related to a specific religion.
Thanks to the rising Muslim population, with projected figures indicating there will be 8.1 million Muslims in the US by 2050, and an increasing demand for ethically-produced food, halal food seems likely to only get hotter. In other words, if you haven't tried halal food yet, you probably will in coming years.