The AHDB’s Beef & Lamb division has appointed Awal Fuseini to the newly created role, to join at the beginning of April.
He will lead all of AHDB’s halal work, working with processors, certification bodies and retailers to drive collaboration between AHDB and the sector.
Fuseini joins the AHDB from A&H Fauna Consultancy, where he served as halal slaughter assessor and food processing auditor since July last year.
He is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Bristol – funded by the Humane Slaughter Association – looking at the development of a new system of electrical stunning of cattle.
Fuseini holds a BSc in agriculture from Cape Coast University in Ghana and an MSc in meat science and technology, from Bristol University.
Halal Food Authority
Prior to his research at Bristol University, Fuseini was the certification manager of the Halal Food Authority.
AHDB head of global supply chain development Phil Hadley said: “[Fuseini] joins with a great wealth of experience in the sector and will be key to increasing our activity in the halal marketplace.
“This is a growing area that offers tremendous potential for our levy payers, particularly given the challenges to our products in traditional markets.”
AHDB said the creation of the halal sector manager role was part of a programme of activity organised by the organisation to improve understanding of the halal marketplace in the UK and targeted export markets.
Alternative slaughter methods
Fuseini spoke at the recent AHDB Beef & Lamb halal seminar on alternative slaughter methods and the relationship with halal requirements.
The seminar also saw Abdalhamid Evans – strategist at halal consultancy Imarat Consulting – call halal a bigger market than China, which will become increasingly important to food manufacturers when the UK leaves the EU.
Evans said: “If we want to be open for business with the world, we need to be aware that a lot of the rest of the world is Muslim.
“Muslims are the only major religious group projected to grow faster than the world’s population as a whole.”
Value of the halal market
Muslims spent £956bn ($1.17tr) on food and drink in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters State of the Islamic Economy report.
The global population of Muslims – who follow strict dietary halal guidelines – is about 1.2bn globally. That compared with 854M Chinese people, according to American think-tank The Pew Research Center.