Situating halal: religiosity, identity and lifestyle in halal consumption in the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates

Mara Miele, John Lever, Adrian Evans, Awal Fuseini

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Abstract

In this paper we draw on a study of Muslim consumer perceptions and concerns about halal labels and certification practices in two affluent countries: the United Kingdom (UK) (where Muslims are a minority of the population) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) (where Muslims are the majority). The study looked at a stratified sample of 330 Muslim consumers in each country. Our analysis points to a growing demand for variety alongside increasing concern for the presence of food additives, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and alcohol in both cases. Expanding demands to label food and other commodities suitable for Muslims with information about quality and standards of production (Gauthier, 2021) are globalising trends, which Muslims everywhere engage with through ‘an Islamic lens – halal’ (Turaeva and Brose, 2020: 301). Our paper wants to address the gap in the literature that very little is known about how consumers perceive the halal concept regarding foodstuffs (see Demirci et al, 2016), and we argue that the expansion and segmentation of halal markets suggests that religious consumerism is affected by religious groups, and also by supply chain actors, and that these markets cannot be controlled by religious authorities. Our research findings provide fresh insight into the existing understanding of religion and consumption, pointing to the geographical specificities of processes of politicisation of halal consumption: the rise of new Muslim youth subcultures in the UK and the coexistence of growing processes of secularisation with ‘halalisation’ in the UAE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37–55
Number of pages19
JournalConsumption and Society
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date26 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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Keywords

  • halalisation
  • halal labels
  • politicisation of consumption
  • younger Muslim consumers
  • UK and UAE

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