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UK Embraces Halal Food with Stadium Celebration

  • The annual World Halal Food Festival was held at London Stadium.
  • The UK’s halal food industry is booming, with vendors and diners noting a shift in opinion towards accepting and embracing halal food.
  • The festival showcased a variety of halal food from different cuisines.

As hundreds of visitors went to London Stadium to attend the annual World Halal Food Festival, Myanara Wander was among the diners enjoying the halal food.

Though Wander is a non-Muslim, she said she “would prefer to eat somewhere that serves halal” if she had a choice.

📚 Read Also: Halal Food Festival in Manchester, Thousands Rush to Attend

“I’ve noticed the meat is a lot cleaner, which is a testament to the way it’s handled,” she told The Guardian. “I’ve also noticed that halal meat tends to be larger compared with non-halal meat.”

The annual World Halal Food Festival was held for the tenth year at the iconic London Stadium on September 23-24.

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As the festival gained more success every year, vendors and diners agree that the industry is booming in the UK.

“About five to 10 years ago, there was a massive stigma against halal food,” said Farhan Afzal, 36, who was visiting the festival from Birmingham.

“Now people are accepting and embracing it, they’re doing their research, and there’s been a shift in opinion.

“Quite a lot of my friends who are non-halal [have] said when buying and cooking halal meat compared with non-halal meat you can see. It’s a lot fresher,” Afzal added. “The taste is a lot different as well. They prefer it.”

Growing Market

Nationally, the number of Muslims in the UK has increased by more than 1 million people in the past 10 years. Census data from 2021 shows that 6.5% of the UK population is Muslim, almost 3.9 million people, up from 4.8% and 2.7 million people in 2011.

As the Muslim population grew, Muslim-owned food chains expanded rapidly.

Saba Ali moved to London from Scotland eight years ago. “We were so surprised when we moved down here, and there was a halal butcher desk in our local Tesco,” Ali said. “You wouldn’t get that in Scotland.”

The festival, which served food ranging from German sausage to Korean fried chicken, reflects the rising salience of halal food, says Saba Ali.

“Only in the past couple of years are these events happening,” she said. “The world is much more connected and globalized. Everyone is aware of other cultures and religions, it’s become a lot more accessible.”

The concept of halal, meaning permissible in Arabic, has traditionally been applied to food.

Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

The London Halal Food Festival (LHFF) usually takes place in September every year, attracting thousands of food lovers.