Singapore Muslims spend an estimated SGD 700 million in Halal dining and delivery, according to the latest report released by Mastercard and CrescentRating. Despite the dampening of the Singapore Halal food industry growth due to COVID-19, the medium-term domestic market potential remains very relevant. The "Halal Food Lifestyle – Singapore 2021" report takes an in-depth look at the Singapore Halal food lifestyle market size, including Singapore Muslim consumers' preferences and behaviors.
The report's insights are driven by a new framework that captures the Halal dining ecosystem and their key drivers; the 5 Ts. Trade and Technology are primarily external drivers, while Taste and Trust are internal drivers. Tourism proves to be a key accelerator enabling and linking all other factors.
Singapore's Halal food scene has seen a rapid expansion in providing a wide variety of Halal cuisines. According to the report, local Muslim millennials are the key driving force accelerating this growth. Aged between 25 to 40 years, they account for 24.0% of the local Singaporean Muslim population.
60% of respondents surveyed agree that Singapore has a vibrant Halal food scene, with a wide variety of cuisines offered as Halal. The republic is also the top non-OIC Muslim-friendly destination in the Global Muslim Travel Index.
The country boasts of a vast culinary history so much so that its hawker culture has been recently added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A big part of this culture has always been the city-state's Halal cuisine. In addition to catering to the local population's needs, it has also been a longstanding attraction for many travelers.
Although local cuisines still dominate the Halal eateries space, Asian cuisines are now more widely available as Halal options. The report highlights the gaps and opportunities in the variety of Halal cuisine available in Singapore.
Price remains the primary factor influencing purchasing decisions. Despite the increasing trend of health-consciousness among Singaporeans, respondents rated nutrition level to be a less important factor. Thus, there is still a gap in the perceived importance of nutritional considerations among Singaporeans during actual purchasing decisions.
When it comes to Halal assurance, the insights reveal that consumers have three different levels of perceived assurance in response to current Halal assurance practices by establishments in the industry. More robust Halal assurance, including certification and rating, leads to greater Trust and brand building with Muslim consumers.
"Halal food availability is an essential faith-based need for Muslims in their daily life. Given the current climate, as Singapore F&B players will focus on the domestic market, this study focuses on how they can better engage with Muslim diners as COVID-19 restrictions are eased and how businesses can convert insights into actionable strategic plans," said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Crescentrating and HalalTrip.
With international travel now restricted due to the pandemic, many local restaurants, especially the smaller ones and hawkers, have been adversely impacted. 2021 is expected to see recovery from the difficulties of the last year as operators in the food and hospitality industry are now revising their business strategies. They are also adopting digital solutions, including payments, to better serve a domestic population where the nature of "dining out" has changed considerably and moved online.
"The Mastercard-CrescentRating Halal Food Lifestyle – Singapore 2021 report seeks to give a better understanding of the local Halal dining landscape, the links between commerce, culture, and food, and the many and new varied needs of Muslim customers. The report takes a deep dive into how technology influences the ways in which Halal diners seek out and purchase from restaurants, something which has become a far more substantial consideration during the pandemic with its associated controls on movement," said Aisha Islam, Vice President, Market Product Management at Mastercard
"We hope that the information contained within this report will allow Halal F&B operators to fine-tune their offerings in a way that they can strengthen their businesses and emerge from this current period more resilient than ever." she added
In the seventh year of partnership, Mastercard and CrescentRating are committed to providing in-depth research to help all stakeholders come out of this crisis stronger and resilient.
As economies stay hopeful that life will begin to return to some form of normality in 2021, this report's insights will assist the F&B stakeholders in better catering to the Muslim consumers in Singapore. This should also allow entrepreneurs to discover new opportunities.