A North West dairy has launched a complete range of halal cheese for the first time in its 50-year history. Bosses at Dew-Lay Products Ltd of Garstang, Lancashire, established in 1957, already supply a full range of cheese for major retailers across the country.
But now, they are so convinced of the growing consumer appetite for Halal produce, they have just been awarded a licence from the Halal Food Authority (HFA) for formulating and processing Halal named varieties of cheese for the retail and catering trade with permissible ingredients and approved methods of manufacture.
The company, owned by the Kenyon family, are now allowed to use the unique HFA logo on all packaging as a seal of approval for Muslim usage.
HFA inspectors will regularly monitor the complete manufacturing process and products.
Dew-Lay combine the most modern technology available with traditional hand crafted methods of production, which gives their cheese its particular flavour.
Dew-Lay marketing manager Ian Coggin said: "Its has taken a long time to get this approval and we have now been visited by the HFA team.
"We are delighted to have been awarded the HFA approval and welcome the opportunity for the Muslim community throughout Britain to now be able to buy our superb full range of cheeses, which includes mild and mature Cheddar, Lancashire Tasty, Creamy, and Crumbly Red Leicester. Cheshire and Double Gloucester.
"The Muslim community is always looking for something new and want the very best quality products available.
"The Halal logo means they can trust the product implicitly .Its all about trust and this will allow people to sample the very best of regional foods with no limit on choices available to them.
"We use only the best local milk from the specific area in Lancashire where our dairy is based and the whole process from farm to table can easily be tracked."
Dew- Lay recently launched the new Halal range at the World Food Market at London's Excel when over 250 exhibitors from over 20 countries descend on the capital to show off the very finest of international cuisine and ethnic foods.
"Ian Coggin from Dew-Lay represenedt the company and organised special Halal cheese tasting sampling sessions.
HFA President Masood Khawaja said demand for Halal products was on the increase among Britain's 2 million Muslims and 15 million Muslims across Europe.
But it was not just Muslims driving the demand he added."Non-Muslims are seeking out and enjoying a wide range of Halal products and there is also a growing demand from abroad with consumers actively looking for UK manufactured and processed goods."
The UK Halal market had increased by 30 per cent in the last year alone said Mr Khawaja while Muslims accounted for just two and half to three per cent of the population.
"The market has really taken off ", added Mr Khawaja.
Latest research commissioned on behalf of World Food Market by Ethnic Focus finds that 94 % of Muslims, would only consume Halal food and Halal is an important part of their lives, while 76% would like to see more Halal products on the market with 9 out of 10 saying they would be more likely to show brand loyalty if the packaging explicitly stated " Halal".