Exporting cosmetics to Malaysia, Indonesia or other predominately muslim countries is increasingly difficult.Halal certification is needed to export cosmetics in muslim countries. The trouble for industry is that Halal certificate is actually not an official document but a certificate delivred by an Imam.
Compounding this problem are the regional differences in Halal certification traditions and variations in the certification process. For exemple in Indonesia or Malaysia you have federal states. Differents states have different laws which are subject to change. It's very difficult for industry to follow regulations and the different requirements for each continent.
In fact the only true reference for halal certification is the "Holy Koran" however even here interpretations are different regarding habits, law and requirements. Ten years ago there was no semblance of a cohesive framework and all exportation was subject to more lax regulation. The attitude of muslim consumers has changed with scandals in Asia and Europe and with the tracability of raw material after the BSE crisis.
For cosmetics big changes began in Europe after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE ) crisis hit. A red pigment used in cosmetics commonly dervied from cow blood were replaced in cosmetic by pig red pigment . All pork is 100% Haram (not allowed for muslims).
After the contamination of lip gloss , nail polish , powder blush etc. 1.6 billion muslim cosumers were made keenly aware of the potential for further scandals and their advertant breaking of Muslim law.
This was the first major global push in the development of a unifying Halal regulation based on the interpretation of the Koran. This poses industry problems as it must adapt modern industrial production to the requirements of comparativley arachaic production techniques. In Europe some mosquees have tried to regulate the process based on their own view of Islam. However most have been boycotted by some federal state of South Asia .
In Europe a happy medium has been achieved which balances the demands of technical audit with the requiremetns of the Koran. The certifate currently only covers products like cosmetic. The proess was the culmination of extensive research in which a common denominator which covered the requirements for halal certifcation for all global regions. After five years of research this certifacitn process has been adopted by several firms to great success. The certifaction processs combines technically based industry audit and the religious rules validated by the Chamber of Commerce of Brussels. This certification can be used and is even used by predominately muslim countries like the Republic of Algeria.
The advent and growth of social media has faciliated discussion and growth in the area of Halal certificaiton. Customers in the montains of Pakistan, in the Jungle of Indonesia or in the desert of Africa can exchange views on religious regulation and the way to consume these type of products. Buyers are also aware of religious regulatory compliance and market requirements and can disemmiante information on the credibility of Halal certifications. Social media has also faciliated the promotion of Halal production and quality.
European producers are also aware of the growing demand for niche markets like halal and are tailiring their marketing strategies to factor in these sectors. Production is now often tailored based on ethnic rules and targets specific ethnic groups. Adversiting for "dark skin", special shampoo for Asian hair ,Halal or vegan ranges ect are all common these days. Over the last two years I have spent more than 124 days explaining Halal rules and Halal production in many countries in Europe.