As the halal movement gains traction, the global industry sets its sights on India’s growing demand for Shariah-compliant goods, particularly cosmetics.

Home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population next to Indonesia, India does have one of the world’s most viable halal markets.

The personal care sector alone has registered promising sales numbers in recent years. Of the $43-billion total cosmetics sales in 2015, $4.2 billion came from the country’s 170 million Muslims, according to the country’s national statistics and research findings.

H.E. Mohammed Saleh Badri, Secretary General, of International Halal Accreditation Forum, said: “India, being home to millions and millions of Muslims, is definitely a country that we look forward to working with as we strive to strengthen IHAF. Driven by our mission to unify the global halal industry and break trade barriers , IHAF is ready to support India in bolstering its halal infrastructure.”

India has signed its membership with IHAF last year. Keeping the country’s halal industry in sync with the global movement, this development augurs well not only for its flourishing cosmetics sector but also for the national economy.

Entrepreneurs within and outside India are starting to take notice of the viable halal market in India, which is projected to have the biggest Muslim population by 2050, according to projections made by Pew Research Centre.

Recently a delegation of Malaysian small and medium-scale enterprises trooped to the country to explore halal market opportunities. Locally, enterprising people are also putting up businesses to capture the growing demand.

Halal-certified cosmetics were initially made to cater specifically to the Muslim community. The demand from non-Muslim consumers is increasing as well.

Consumers, nowadays, prefer such products for their organic properties. Halal lipsticks, face creams and shampoos have become more than a commodity that caters to a niche market.

As business interest brews, however, the issue of consumer awareness is also brought to fore.

Reports have pointed out that earning the halal consumer’s confidence in buying Shariah-compliant products remains a challenge.

“There is a lack of awareness among India’s Muslim consumers that mainstream cosmetics may contain non-halal ingredients. In addition, halal fraud scandals have rocked consumer confidence. In this context, halal certification is vitally important to establishing trust with the Muslim consumer,” according to a study by AMust Media, an Australasian multimedia agency, based in Sydney.

“Gaining certification is a key step, it must be supported by open communication about certification, and proactive marketing,” it added.

Bridging awareness gaps and protecting Halal consumers are also IHAF’s top priorities, from which the India’s Halal network can also benefit.

“On top of IHAF’s goal of establishing one strong global assembly of halal industry stakeholders, our main goal in this endeavour is to ensure that people who live the halal lifestyle can purchase Shariah-compliant goods with confidence. One day, all they have to do is to look for one universal halal mark stamped on any product or service wherever they may be in the world,” Badri concluded.