Populix, a digital-based research survey, shows that 93% of respondents claimed that the halal logo is their main consideration when buying a product. The survey involved at least 1,014 Muslim men and women aged 17 to 55 years. However, there are concerns on obtaining halal logo through bribes.
“Especially in this month of Ramadan, people will take better care of the products they eat,” said Eileen Kamtawijoyo, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Populix on April 18, 2023.
The halal logo is very important for Indonesian consumers, who are mostly Muslim. The halal logo in a product will make Muslim consumers feel safe about the quality of the products they are buying.
Several other aspects that are no less important include clear product content information for consumers such as nutritional information, and environmentally friendly packaging.
Currently, according to the Halal Product Assurance Organizing Agency (BPJPH), the spending value of halal products from Indonesian Muslims has touched US$ 135 billion per year.
However, the survey also showed that 39% of Indonesian Muslim consumer will still buy products without a halal logo. They argued that they believe that the products they are buying do not contain forbidden (haram) ingredients. Some respondents also admitted that several manufacturers of these products were indeed working on a halal logo, and the process was not easy.
The fee to apply for a regular halal certificate for Micro and Small Enterprises reaches up to IDR 300,000; for medium businesses up to IDR 500,000; and large or overseas businesses can even reach as high as IDR 12,500,000.
Even with the low price for MSMEs, which only reaches IDR 300,000, there is an issue regarding the expensive halal logo from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). Several MSMEs in Purwakarta, Indonesia had even complained about the high cost of halal labels.
A small industrial food producer complained that the administrative price for a halal logo reached up to IDR 2.5 million. At that time, the Purwakarta Regency Government had made halal certification available for free for MSMEs. However, once its validity period expired, an expensive fee was imposed to apply for an extension.
“Our current difficulty is extending the halal label, besides we don’t understand that online flow is also expensive,” said Meli, an MSME seller on January 3, 2023.
In addition, there are issues of illegal halal certification related to bribery and extortion. Some reports indicated that foreign companies that wish to obtain halal certification permits from the MUI are said to have to make a deposit to MUI officials.
According to a report by Tempo magazine, a total of IDR 4.2 billion from the Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria (ICCV), a halal institution from Australiam, was donated for the construction of mosques from 2013-2018. ICCV then obtained permission to carry out halal certification from the MUI.
A halal businessman said that the construction of the mosque was a form of kickback from the ICCV to high-ranking members of the Indonesian Ulema Council to maintain relations with the MUI so that all certification matters would run smoothly.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Halal Certification Authority Australia Mohamed El Mouelhy, as reported by csw.id, stated that it is common knowledge in Australia to obtain halal certificates in Indonesia, foreign companies must provide kickbacks for the MUI.