Fukuoka plans halal food fair next year

Kyodo

A nonprofit organization based in the city of Fukuoka said Friday it will hold a trade fair in the city as early as February to promote food produced in Japan in compliance with Islamic law.

The aim is to boost food exports to Muslim countries with rapidly growing economies, as well as to cater to the needs of Muslims in Japan. It will be the first halal food fair held in Japan, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.

At the fair being organized by the Nippon Asia Halal Association, about 30 items will be displayed by firms and farm cooperatives that are developing new halal food products.

Products being considered for the event include pepper flavored with “yuzu,” a kind of citrus fruit, from Fukuoka, Chinese dumplings that use minced fish from Saga Prefecture as fillings and curry powder from Saitama Prefecture. Beverages and cosmetics will also likely be showcased.

The association is aiming to invite officials of halal accreditation organizations, diplomats and students from countries with large Muslim populations, including Malaysia and Indonesia.

By some estimates, the global halal food market is worth $600 billion, or about ¥47 trillion. Large-scale halal food fairs are held in Southeast Asia and Europe.

In contrast, public interest in halal remains rather low in Japan and only a limited number of large Japanese food companies sell accredited halal food abroad.