Suggestions for Halal Certification of Taiwanese Cuisines
（China Productivity Center Innovative Marketing Department）
In the 2021 "Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI)" jointly released by Mastercard and Crescent Rating, Taiwan, together with the UK, won the second place among the non-OIC destinations, next only to Singapore. This is a new record after the third place attained in the previous year, 2019, and has been a much-needed shot in the arm to the sluggish tourism industry suffering the COVID-19 pandemic.
More and more domestic food and beverage companies, keen in developing the Muslim market, are pursuing Halal certification. The three categories of certification are: restaurants, hospitality operators, and food items. The application for one certificate costs between NT$60,000 and NT$240,000. The certificate is subject to renewal every one to two years. Here are some suggestions for application in the different categories:
It is suggested that restaurant operators first take an inventory of all the items on the menu and the sources of the food, including fresh food and the seasonings. This is to determine if there are non-Halal meats (e.g. pork), blood (e.g. pig blood or duck blood) and alcohol contained and to conduct evaluation for alternative solutions. It is also suggested to study and understand the habits of Muslim groups domestically, including places of gathering (e.g. train stations, mosques, tourist attractions, schools, etc.) and important festivals (Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, etc.) as a way to identify the market after obtaining the certification.
Case : Halalan & Toyyiban Mart
Halalan & Toyyiban Mart was opened in 2018 as the first Muslim-friendly restaurant in Dadaocheng area, serving halal dishes from several countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkonia, etc. A variety of halal food items are sold online and offline, including fresh and frozen foods, sauces, biscuits, etc. The Ramadan is found to be an important business occasion, when halal frozen dumplings are offered to Muslim families to cook by themselves during the fasting period. The operator also started a new brand "H.T Buger" in Shangri-La Far Eastern, Taipei in 2020, the only one of its kind, to serve halal burgers.
Photo: Halalan & Toyyiban Mart received the halal certification in 2018 and started H.T Buger in 2020.
Photo credit: Google
Hospitality operators are advised to take stock of the hardware and equipment of the guest rooms, to ensure there are at least 20 Muslim guest rooms available, where there are no human portraits in the rooms, and bidet toilet is necessary. The prayer time and Qibla directions should be clearly indicated. Publicity work is suggested on Muslim travel platforms such as Crescent Rating to reach online and offline Muslim tourists.
Case : Hotel Les Champs (Hualien)
Hotel Les Champs (Hualien) obtained its MFT certification (Muslim Friendly Tourism) in 2018. It has since then further developed the southward markets through the associated travel agency, and now has an average of 20-30% of its customers from Muslim regions every year.
Food industry operators are advised to check the sources of all food ingredients, to avoid non-Halal meats (e.g. pork), blood (e.g. pig blood or duck blood) and alcohol. Care should be taken to prevent cross-contamination with other non-halal foods in the production line and work space. It is also recommended to apply for domestic halal food certification (e.g. THIDA) even if there is no specific demand from foreign distributors. Application for foreign certification can be filed after a certain volume of sale overseas is attained.
Case - Ginkgo Lin Foods:
Ginkgo Lin Foods has great interest in the business opportunities in the southward health food market. It obtained the THIDA certification from the Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association in 2020. Through contact with local distributors, it has entered the Malaysian market in 2021.
Photo: Ginkgo Lin Foods obtained the THIDA certification in 2020.
Photo credit: Ginkgo Lin Foods official website