July 25, 2008

PJ Foods Set to Tap Middle East Mart

By B. Suresh Ram

THE East Coast Economic Region's push to boost entrepreneurs' halal food production will see spice and seasoning producer PJ Foods Industries Sdn Bhd expanding its business to the Middle East this year.

According to managing director Norehan Mohd Noor, the Middle East market is witnessing strong demand for processed food condiments and ingredients that can be fully certified as halal.

"This increase in demand bodes well for those in the spices and prepared food sector, especially those from Malaysia," she said.

She added that as the halal food market becomes more sophisticated, it is important for Malaysian food producers to tap into new markets as well as demonstrate that all ingredients used are fully halal.

"Because of the purchasing power, the Middle East market will grow in importance. Malaysian spice manufacturers should tap into this growing market and start building their supply network there," she added.

While the Middle East is a vital new market segment for PJ Foods, the company is also seeking to be known as one of the country's premier halal spice and seasoning suppliers.

The global halal food market is worth an estimated US$2.1 trillion a year.

The world market for spices and seasonings is expected to hit 1,857 million tonnes by 2010, driven by the growing popularity of exotic ethnic cuisine, innovation in blended spices and flavours with low fat ingredients.

Demand for blended spices and seasonings is also fuelled by consumers' need for easy and time-saving yet flavourful cooking solutions.

PJ Food says 90 per cent of its output is for local consumption with the rest is exported to Brunei.

PJ Foods operates a 516 square metre factory in Bandar Indera Mahkota near Kuantan with 20 employees.

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