São Paulo – Brazilian food company Alibra obtained in March the halal certification for part of its products and plans to expand its presence in the Arab market from now on. The halal accreditation, which certifies that the production was done under Islamic norms, is a requirement made by many Muslin nations, including importers from Arab countries.
According to information by Alibra’s exporting manager, Débora Lapa, the company obtained the accreditation for 12 of its products from the lines of caseinates, milk powder, whey, powder cream and powder vegetable fat. Alibra produces inputs to the food industry and ready-to-eat food products for the retail, wholesale and fast food sector.
With the halal certification, Alibra plans to carve more space in the countries it already sells to and enter the market of other Arab and Muslim nations. Débora says that, among the Arabs, the company exports to Mauritania and Egypt, selling milk powder and fat milk powder. In the former, they sell to retail and industry and, in the latter, they sell only to the industrial sector.
“There are many opportunities in Saudi Arabia,” says Débora, mentioning the difficulties faced by a certification-less company in the country. She says that the halal stamp will also be used to sell to domestic clients that export to Islamic countries.
Alibra’s inputs go to many industry sectors, such as producers of dairies, ice cream, chocolate, breads, cookies, pasta, sauces, soups, creams, desserts, sweets, supplements and nutraceuticals. The inputs produced by the company are, among others, vegetable oils, colorings, salts, cocoa, seasonings, protein concentrates and thickeners.
The company also produces and supplies ready-to-eat foods such as powder milk, chocolate mix, infant formula and powder porridge, to supermarkets, wholesales and companies suppliers of basic-goods baskets. In the food services sector, such as restaurants and hotels, it sells other ready-to-eat products, such as milk-based beverages.
Débora Lapa says that the adaptations to achieve the certification took around two years to be completed, since it involved internal negotiation as well as negotiations with suppliers. Fambras Halal was the company that accredited Alibra. Among the technical requirements are the confirmation of the lack of ingredients forbidden by Islam, such as pork and alcohol.
With its certification, Alibra plans to invest more in exports to Arab and Islamic markets. According to Débora Lapa, the company plans to promote the achievement of the certification in business expos in the Middle East, such as a trade expo in Iran that the company will soon attend and another in the UAE early next year.
Alibra owns two plants: the main one in Campinas, 100 km from São Paulo, and another one in Marechal Cândido Rondon, 580 km from Curitiba. The company was founded in 2000 by its three current owners, the food production engineers Humberto Salvador Afonso, Roberto Stefanini and João Bosco Dias Pinheiro,
Translated by Sérgio Kakitani