Multi-million pound halal facility now open

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

Halal food appeals to a wide cross section of society, said Lord Noon.
Halal food appeals to a wide cross section of society, said Lord Noon.
Bombay Halwa has gone live with a dedicated, multi-million pound production facility for a ready meal range that caters for rocketing demand for halal food.

The facility, which began making the new Royal Halal frozen, microwaveable meals last month, forms part of the 5,574m2​ Bombay Halwa factory in Southall, Middlesex. It has the capacity to make 100,000 meals a day from four dedicated lines. The wider factory will continue to make a range of other sweet and savoury Indian dishes.

Speaking at the launch of the dedicated plant and lines, Labour peer Lord Gulam Noon, chairman and md of Bombay Halwa, said: "I have been surveying the [halal] market for a couple of years now. It has become something that goes beyond the Muslim community."

Tesco and Asda

However, he said current handling of mainstream halal products had been "slipshod"​ and felt there was a gap in the market for a range of meals of consistently high quality. He had previously held back from taking halal into the mainstream market. "The time is now, because I see halal food everywhere. Halal meat, [for example] chicken and lamb, are available in Tesco and Asda."

It would be possible to extend the lines "once we have tested the buoyancy of the market"​, he said. "Lots of my non-Muslim friends like halal. A Muslim will not eat non-halal meat, but a non-Muslim has no problem eating halal."

The facility had a significant bank of microbiologists and technical personnel trained to handle all aspects of food safety and quality, he said.

Four dishes have been launched initially: Saag Chicken; Butter Chicken; Chicken Tikka Masala; and Kadhai Chicken, all with Baghara rice, with plans for more in the pipeline. In addition, the firm has launched two types of Toast & Eat Parathas as meal accompaniments, which can be cooked in a toaster.

Artificial additives

All products are free from artificial additives and preservatives and have been officially certified by the Muslim Food Board UK. Where possible, all meal ingredients have been sourced from within the UK.

The new meals, which specialist chefs took a year to develop, are being rolled out to cash and carries and leading supermarkets first and are available in Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Waitrose. However, Bombay Halwa intends to target other channels, including foodservice, airline catering and convenience stores.

Noon said Royal Halal would be launched first in the frozen category, but he did not rule out exploring the chilled food category after assessing its performance. In addition to selling products in the UK, he said: "My vision is to take these foods to the rest of Europe and the Middle East."

Related topics: Frozen

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Protest against halal food

Posted by Becki,

It says here that none muslim people have a problem eating halal food. I have a huge problem halal is forced on us we have next to no choice. We should be alowed an option too many halal butchers around very fiew non halal it would be nice if super markets like tesco and asda didnt throw halal food at us also. Pathetic halal food is barbaric.

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Posted by Natalia,

Halal is disgusting whatever your beliefs are. I don't think it should be allowed. I have a list of non halal products on a website I searched for with Google I buy because it's not just meat!! How dare one person tell the majority what to do stupid man.

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Halal - Lord Noon's comments

Posted by M Williams,

Lord Noon makes an ill-informed sweeping statement that non-muslims have no problem eating halal meat.

There may be no religious problem with it but the inhumane method of killing an animal in the halal tradition makes it unpalatable to many of us who value the humane killing of the meat brought to our table.

If Lord Noon is also targeting the non-muslim market, the killing method should fall under European legislation. It should no longer be deemed an appropiate method to satisfy religious requirements.

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