From the Slaughterhouse to the Consumer: Transparency and information in the distribution of Halal and Kosher meat

John Lever, Maria Puig De La Bellacasa, Mara Miele, Marc Higgin

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


This report provides an exploratory overview of the markets for halal and kosher meat in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Norway and Turkey. The report draws on the concept of qualification to explore the ways in which meat becomes halal and kosher through processes of certification and retailing. The report starts off with an extended study of market developments in the United Kingdom, where we find a rapidly expand- ing and diversifying halal market emerging alongside the practices of certification bodies and retailers, and a diversifying kosher market. There is little trust and transparency in the halal market and consumers generally only display trust in the relations with neighbour- hood butchers. While the kosher market is also undergoing a process of change, most kosher meat is also generally sold at the neighbourhood level. Although not centralised, the kosher market is more codified and controlled than the halal market and there is much less controversy about the qualification of products than there is in the halal market.

In France, we find the most extended kosher market and the largest Muslim popula- tion in Europe; both meat markets are significant. Kosher and halal products have become increasingly visible over the last decade, but certification has only recently emerged as an issue. Unlike the UK, we see that the halal market in France is mostly based on auto- ‘certification’ procedures and that there are few independent certifiers. Although halal products have become increasingly available in mainstream outlets, much like the UK most halal meat is still sold through dedicated independent retailers. Kosher certification is mostly centralised in France, but as in the halal market, kosher meat is still mainly distributed through local butcheries and delicatessen; in both markets there are concerns over fraudulent practices and the process of qualification is not always clear. In Germany, we find a very small market for kosher meat and a young but expanding halal meat market experiencing some of the trends and debates evident in the UK and French markets. How- ever, while the demand for halal certification is increasing, we see that the debates and controversies around transparency and trust are not as evident as they are in the UK and France; concerns have only recently started to emerge as the market has started to expand. Kosher products are also available in mainstream outlets in Germany, but certification is not really an issue and most Jewish consumers also prefer to buy from their local butcher.
In Norway, there have been positive signs of dialogue and debate between the com- munity and the authorities in relation to both the halal and kosher meat markets. The kosher market is import only, as shechita is banned, but in the halal market we observe an ongoing debate that has facilitated high levels of consumer trust and market transparency. In the final case study, Turkey, we find a declining kosher market/ Jewish population and a mainstream meat market based on implicit Islamic practices. Although certification is not really an issue – as most meat is taken at face value to be halal – we see that things are starting to change as the global markets provide increasing opportunities for export to the world’s major halal markets. The final chapter provides a comparative summary of the report’s main findings.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWales
Number of pages116
ISBN (Print)1902647963
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


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