Halal Industry: The Retail Price Game
Halal Industry Feature.
On a recent grocery run at Loblaw’s, I noticed that my usual brand of chicken wings weren’t on the shelves in the frozen food section – and neither were any of their other frozen products. Odd, I thought to myself, I could have sworn that I picked up a few boxes there in the past. I shook my head and continued picking up the rest of my groceries – thinking nothing of it.
A few days later I found myself at a Loblaw’s Real Canadian Superstore picking up a few more things and once again, found myself looking high and low for my chicken wings (Mina brand). It couldn’t be a coincidence – maybe Mina stopped making making them? But when I checked at FreshCo, I noticed them right away on the shelf. Elated, but confused, I decided to channel my inner Nancy Drew and figure out why two different Loblaw’s stores didn’t carry Mina’s line of frozen foods.
I went right to the root of it all and called a Loblaw’s Superstore in Scarborough. I spoke with the store manager David, who told me that they were relooking the process as they weren’t selling much. I thought that was a weird response seeing as there was still one brand of halal products on the shelves, just not any others. My household will only consume hand slaughtered halal chicken, so I was stuck since the only brand they carried uses machine slaughtered chicken.
People are buying more of the economical products and Hand Slaughtered Halal Products continues to get priced down due to sitting on the shelf longer
It makes sense – Mina is usually priced at about 30 per cent more because they use only hand-slaughtered chicken and their operations are fully monitored on a regular basis by the HMA. Sadly, what I’m realizing is that this means people are buying more of the economical products and Hand Slaughtered Halal brands continue to get priced down due to sitting on the shelf longer, frustrating retailers.
“The hand slaughter process is the only way in which there are no compromises. By putting the right amount of slaughtermen on the production line and working out an efficient system, each bird is blessed and cut properly without any compromise.” Imam Omar Subedar, COO and spokesperson for the HMA Canada.
In a recent survey we conducted, we learned that consumers are willing to pay more for hand-slaughtered meat. If that’s the case, then why are consumers still choosing lower-priced machine slaughtered brands? In order to get Mina and other hand-slaughtered brands back on the shelves, consumers will need to understand that quality and assurance costs more.
I also wonder how many people actually understand the difference between hand and machine slaughter? Or even which brands use which method.
Forget about hand and machine slaughtering for a minute. There are SO MANY other issues that happen in a meat processing facility that make the halal meat you consume questionable. From our research, the only certifier in Canada who is present and monitors production for their clients is HMA. Other certifiers see the process once, hand over a certificate and walk away.
Sound off below in the comments sections. We want to know what you think – and if having hand-slaughtered meat at your local Loblaw’s, No Frills, Fortinos or Superstore is important to you than write a letter, Tweet them or post on their Facebook wall. You’re the consumer and it’s you that’s most important – let them know that you want hand-slaughtered options readily available at your local grocery store.
Hafsa is a cupcake-baking, fashion-loving, DIY-obsessed small town girl living in a big city. You can follow her adventures in her new lifestyle blog ‘Does This Make My Head Look Fat?” She has a background in public relations but now currently works in the digital agency world as a Social Media Coordinator for 88 Creative. Her guilty pleasures include traveling, eating macaroons and Instagramming her day-to-day excursions. Follow her adventures on Twitter.