ASA – Guys, wake up, please wake up! …. There is a new generation taking over. It’s Generation M! Generation Muslim, or we could also be known as the “Generation Modest”.

As Halal Hangouts, we don’t want to talk solely about our favourite topic, food. But also highlight the wider market of Halal products that are on show here today at this amazing shopping festival.

Halal means permissible, this pertains to not just food, but also cosmetics, banking, clothing, travel and so much more!

Today we want to talk about two huge growth areas; Fashion & Food! – Two areas brought to you at this year’s Muslim Shopping Festival.

Over the last few years, mainstream brands have started to realise how diverse, global and super savvy Muslim consumers are. And they are beginning to understand that we have a desire for genuinely high quality, lifestyle brands that can cater to our needs.

The fashion & apparel market for Muslims is worth £207bn Globally and is set to rise to £275bn by 2023.

We have seen global brands such as M&S, Zara and Mango start to stock modest fashion, and they have seen profits rise YoY.

we have also seen premium brands  like D&G producing a line of richly embroidered Hijabs.

In the sports apparel market we now have seen athletes promoting their Hijab activewear range.

However, we still have a very long way to go. We know that many Muslims still do not believe they are being represented amongst the high-street brands.

Retailers do still need to do more. Need to better understand the Muslim customer. We are not another demographic. We are Generation M!

We like to think we know a thing or two about the Halal food market, and I hope we can give you some insight. We have come to understand fairly intimately the consumers needs and the food producers aspirations to address these with with fresh ideas.

One of the real forces we have seen is the groundbreaking nature of the Halal food market. We have certainly moved from the days of the local greasy fried chicken shop to premium cuts of steak and virgin mojitos at fancy fine dining establishments! The Halal food landscape is buoyant, rich and booming with options.

According to the world Halal Forum in Malaysia, Halal food accounts for 17% of the Global food market. In a word, it’s HUGE.  With 80% of the halal food industry being in the hands of non-muslims.

We have seen a countries such as Brazil & New Zealand as big producers of Halal meat for years! And closer to home, right here in the UK we have witnessed a rapidly growing Halal market, made up of a younger, more affluent demographic. The demand for Halal food is MASSIVE. We see this being capitalized upon by the major supermarkets, with their “ramadan friendly” shopping aisles. Although guys, please stop filling it up with cooking oil and dates.

Your favourite food chains Nandos serves Halal in 1 in 4 of their restaurants.

Subway serves Halal at 1/10 of their stores! – KFC have been running Halal trials at some of their stores, i’ve got 4 within a mile of me in East London! … come on McD’s get on the bandwagon. Although, they did  try in Southall a long time back, which failed miserably. So it doesn’t always work.

These trends are showing how popular and multicultural Generation-M has become. We are seeing consumer demands of Generation-M being met, and at scale! once upon a time jelly sweets were off limits now we have candy kittens everywhere and we are spoilt for choice!

So on to our predictions for shopping in the future? With the store model heavily changing, fierce competition and Online taking over, the role of stores must evolve to complete the online experience. Digital has a major influence, so be discoverable and disruptive online – influence the path to purchase. Start to video merchandise, as 78% of traffic will be video by 2021 (cisco).

We should be proud of where we have come from, and where we are going.

However, we need to continue to do more. We know there is a lot of negative stigma in the media nowadays about our faith, and this is the time for us to really, step-up and  showcase our amazing talents and innovations in the Halal Space. We need to claim back the positive narrative of Generation-M and it’s real essence, which is about being humble, modest, inquisitive and inclusive. However, we should also be proud of being a little bit different, a little quirky and sometimes the stranger in a conformist society.

Let’s be proud of the growing popularity of the modest market, and the proliferation of Halal food options out there… let’s be proud of being part of Generation-M!