a year ago

'Organic-Halal': A new business brand for the future

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Recently the Agriculture Ministry of Bangladesh confirmed that broiler meat is safe to eat and contains antibiotics and metals lower than the maximum tolerable level for the human body while analyzing 1,200 broiler chickens from several poultry firms and super shops. However, uncertainty may exist regarding the extent to which this confirmation will be able to dispel the long-standing social stigma associated with eating contaminated meat.  

In the domain of the adulterated meat market, the concept of 'organic-halal' may stand out in the crowd. Organic livestock are raised in natural environments, fed organic feed, and not given any unnecessary antibiotics that are harmful to livestock. According to the halal method, birds and animals are slaughtered following Muslim dietary guidelines (with a deep cut across the neck), so that all of the blood drains from their bodies, leaving the meat fresh and tender, hygienic and healthy, which is considered the best for human health. The concept of "organic-halal" meat, which blends the concepts of organic and halal meat, is a brand-new business idea that hasn't yet been identified but has the potential to greatly increase consumer interest in the meat. The term "organic-halal" may first and foremost conjure up images of the meat's naturalness and cleanliness, as well as observance of Islamic practice.  

Bangladesh is still lagging in the production of organic meat because it requires a large amount of land and time to raise birds and animals using organic methods. According to a UN report, Bangladesh's population growth which was 2 per cent in 2017, has since decreased to 1.11 per cent this year, and will fall to 0.37 per cent  in 2045 due to the country's low fertility rate. Although Bangladesh's population is currently 16.9 million, it is expected to fall to 8.13 million in the next 80 years. However, the demography will be further reduced if the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are achieved by 2030. Because there will be more land available and fewer people living on it than there is now, meat producers can pursue the 'organic-halal' business in the coming years.

Meat demand in the country is primarily met by poultry, with organic meat making up only 1 per cent of the total market (Rahman, 2019). Meat producers can enter the niche market because it is underserved and offers numerous opportunities for growth and business expansion. Previously, the business concept of "100 per cent Halal Soap" was considered a marketing superstar in Bangladesh, capturing millions of people's attention and resulting in a global marketing phenomenon. Based on the facts and circumstances, the author argues that the new 'organic-halal' business will also generate a lot of interest and establish a strong brand image in the meat market. However, meat producers should conduct a feasibility analysis before establishing such a brand name for their meat products. If the feasibility report for 'organic-halal' meat indicates that the business will be viable, Bangladeshi meat producers can pursue it. In this regard, stakeholders should put into practice a few of the policies and procedures listed below to ensure the business's success and sustainability.

First, many local or organic meat producers in Bangladesh raise birds and animals in their yards and the nation has not yet adopted a widespread commercial organic farming industry. To facilitate commercial organic meat production, the government and authority concerned should take appropriate policies such as making business loans easier to obtain, offering subsidiaries, setting up efficient supply chains, etc. for 'organic-halal' meat production and distribution.

Second, Bangladeshi meat producers often feed scraps of tannery waste, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms etc. to stimulate the growth of birds and animals and use preservatives in meat, to give a longer shelf life. 'Organic-halal' meat producers must avoid any malpractice while adhering to all of the 'organic-halal' meat standards to ensure the quality of meat and demonstrate its superiority. The concerned authority should also monitor the safety and standards throughout the supply chain of meat production to distribution and to maintain a trustworthy business.

Third, meat marketers should broadcast attractive advertisements on television, newspapers, and other social media platforms emphasising the purity, naturalness, safety, freshness and religiosity of meat. Bullock et al. (2017), in an experimental study, found that advertisements for organic foods raise US consumers' desire to purchase the food. Awan et. Al. (2015) again confirmed that halal marketing and sales promotion significantly influence people to buy the food while analysing 300 respondents from four different cities in Pakistan. Based on the findings, the author believes that the new 'organic-halal' advertisement will generate a lot of interest for meat sales as well as profits for the marketers.

Fourth, owing to the outbreak of Covid 19, the demand for healthy and safe food is rising worldwide and online food marketing in Bangladesh has also increased rapidly in recent years. The future 'organic-halal' meat producers can sell their meat through online platforms as well to attract and satisfy more customers and increase sales.

Many meat producers from Muslim-majority countries including Bangladesh export halal meat abroad, particularly to non-Muslim majority countries. Despite Muslim religious values, many non-Muslim (19.138 billion), atheist (1.2 billion) and unaffiliated (1.19 billion) people around the world (World Population Review, 2022) may prefer to consume 'organic-halal' meat. If meat producers adopt the new method of 'organic-halal' meat and begin marketing it around the globe, meat sales would soar. The new business innovation could revolutionise meat sales not only in Bangladesh, but also globally among both theist and atheist people, resulting in increased investment, employment, capital, and economic development for the country.

Dr Sheikh Ashiqurrahman Prince is a Professor at the Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management (BIGM).
[email protected].

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