Halal status boosts marketability of local products

Halal status boosts marketability of local products

KUALA LUMPUR: For a majority of consumers in this country, the halal status is one of the main considerations in their choice of food and beverage products when they go shopping.

The halal stamp on the food and beverage packaging is a value-added feature as it gives locally made products an edge over imported ones.

One local company that has given much emphasis to the halal status is Mamee-Double Decker Sdn Bhd (Mamee) which produces the popular Mamee brand instant noodles and snacks.

Its Islamic Affairs and Government Relations assistant director Ahmad Syukry Ibrahim said Mamee’s entire product range has been certified halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), which is why the brand has remained the preferred choice of consumers.

“Competition, especially with imported products, is inevitable. But consumers have confidence in our products as they have halal status,“ he told Bernama.

Incorporated in 1971, Mamee’s product range includes snacks, instant noodles, biscuits, cultured milk, spices, chicken stock and mashed potato.

Ahmad Syukry said the company is familiar with the dos and don’ts of getting halal certification for their product line from Jakim.

“Apart from regulating our products’ halal status, Mamee also focuses on the price and taste quality, as well as how much people (especially children) enjoy our products,“ said Ahmad Syukry.

Mamee also has collaborations with foreign companies to expand its market reach and render its products comparable with international ones.

Among its more significant tie-ups is its joint venture with South Korean leading fast-food manufacturing firm Shinsegae Food Inc in 2017 to produce halal products.

“Our international collaborations have indirectly taken the Malaysian halal logo to the global level,“ he added.

Describing the ongoing Buy Malaysian Products Campaign (KBBM) 2019, initiated by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, as a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to display their products’ strong points, Ahmad Syukry said the initiative would also enable consumers to get to know the various homegrown goods and services available in the country.

“Locally produced food and beverage products are more reliable in terms of their contents and manufacturing aspect. Furthermore, research and development activities are carried out before a product is produced to ensure that it meets the requirements of consumers,“ he said.

He said the latest technology and innovations have paved the way for the launch of consumer-friendly food items that are not only economical and require less time to prepare but can also be carried along when one travels.

“Consumers want products that are convenient to eat, tasty and of good quality,“ he added.

Purchasing power

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said Malaysians should support locally made products and services in order to stimulate the growth of local industries.

Pointing out that the quality of homegrown brands and services are comparable to that of foreign products, he said some Malaysian goods are being exported using brand names registered overseas.

“Among these brands are John Master and Bonia,“ he said, adding that it could be a marketing strategy by the producers to popularise their goods.

Urging local manufacturers to keep upgrading the quality of their products, Mohd Yusof said when consumers give priority to Malaysian-made goods, their purchasing power would have a positive effect on the nation’s economy.

Universiti Utara Malaysia senior lecturer in economics, finance and banking Muhammad Ridhuan Bos Abdullah said campaigns like KBBM 2019 would spur domestic spending which, indirectly, can stave off the effects of the US-China trade war.

The ongoing economic conflict between the world’s two largest economies started when US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs and duties on imports with the intention of protecting US businesses and reducing the nation’s dependence on imported goods.

“There’s a concern that the trade war between the US and China would have a huge implication on global economic growth, including Malaysia’s,“ said Muhammad Ridhuan.

However, the KBBM initiative can help Malaysia to cope with the decline in the exports sector provided that Malaysian consumers buy local goods and services, he said.

“Higher domestic spending will contribute to the nation’s economic growth, the effects of which will spillover into various sectors. More job opportunities will also be created and there will be a reduction in imports. Local producers will also become more competitive through product innovation,“ he added.

The academic also said that upstream industries like agriculture and livestock farming need not be limited to producing rice or meat but can also be expanded to downstream businesses such as the production of fast-food and frozen products that can be exported.

“KBBM’s economic value can only be tapped if Malaysians heed the government’s call to buy local products,“ he added.

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