This article about where to buy halal meat and ready meals in the UK was published by the Great British Mag content team on 12 March, 2020
Moving to the UK and settling into student life is exciting but can also be stressful, especially if you have dietary requirements, such as only eating halal.
Going on the hunt for food that is healthy, convenient and inexpensive can be a challenge, so that’s why we’ve created this guide on where you can buy halal meat and ready meals.
What is halal?
Halal translates to ‘lawful’ or ‘permitted’ in Arabic and is used to describe things that adhere to Islamic law, as defined in the Qur’an. The term can be applied to anything but is most commonly used in reference to food that is permissible to eat, such as meat.
According to the Halal Food Authority, to make meat halal or permissible, an animal or poultry is slaughtered in a ritual known as “Zabihah”. The ritual requires that the animal is healthy at the time of slaughter. The jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe should also be severed by a razor-sharp knife in a single swipe so as to “incur the least amount of pain as possible”. All blood must be fully drained from the carcass and a prayer must also be said during the slaughter.
Is halal meat in the UK stunned before slaughter?
There are two authorities in the UK that set out best practice for Halal meat. One is the Halal Food Authority (which allows water-bath stunning of chickens and electric-tong stunning of lamb). The other is the Halal Monitoring Committee (which doesn’t allow stunning in any form).
Check the halal-certified label on the front or back of each item to see which authority it goes by.
Which UK supermarkets sell halal food?
Morrisons has an extensive range of halal meat, which they’ve featured on their website. They also wrote on their website, “We respect the fact that some religious communities want to eat food produced in accordance with their beliefs and sell branded halal and kosher products where there is strong customer demand. It’s clear from the labelling that these products are halal or kosher.”
Tesco offers a range of Halal food across some of its stores, as well as online. This includes meat, sweets, yogurt, cheese and soft drinks.
They wrote on their website: “We have a small number of stores where customer demand for halal meat is high. To serve these customers, we either sell branded halal meat, which comes from stunned animals, or have independent meat counters operated by The National Halal Centre.
These counters sell unstunned halal meat, which is labelled as such, so that our customers are able to make informed choices about what they wish to purchase. The National Halal Centre operates to strict industry standards and employs highly-skilled certified staff in its abattoirs.”
Sainsbury’s offers some meat and sweets options. Their website says, “We do sell a selection of branded halal and kosher products in some stores, all of which are very clearly labelled.”
Marks & Spencer:
M&S introduced its own brand of halal-prepared meal range in November 2019, including halal versions of some of its most popular meals. Customers are able to buy a range of six Halal Food Authority-certified prepared meals across 36 selected M&S stores.
Aldi does not specifically pay to have any of their own-branded products that are halal certified, but it does stock a range of halal products.
The Co-Op website offers halal chicken cocktail sausages as well as a small selection of sweets.
A spokesperson for Co-Op said, “We do sell some halal meat where there’s demand and we label our products clearly.”
The Waitrose website sells a range of halal products, including the Nando’s peri peri sauce, meat, potato-based products like chips, condiments, breakfast bars and dairy-based products like ice cream and milk.
A spokesperson for Waitrose and Partners said, “Some of our lamb is slaughtered after a halal blessing, but in line with our strict policies, it is always pre-stunned.”
Fast food chains in the UK with halal food
Portuguese-style chicken restaurant Nando’s offers 73 of its 402 restaurants serving only halal chicken. They also advised: “A small proportion of chicken sold in our other restaurants may also be halal.”
Subway has been offering halal options in stores since 2007. Many stores in some densely-populated Muslim neighbourhoods only offer halal meat, such as in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Swansea, Glasgow and Norfolk. In these stores, there are signs that clearly state it serves halal food and that turkey meat replaces pork on the menu.
In regards to stunning procedures, they state on their website: “All our suppliers comply with EU animal welfare legislation as a minimum and we require suppliers of halal products to adopt the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter. All halal meats are certified by the appropriate Halal authorities.”
At the time of writing, KFC announced they’re running a halal trial within communities where they “anticipate a strong demand for halal products”.
Purchasing halal food online
There are a range of websites that cater specifically to people looking to buy halal-approved products. Some of these websites are Natural Halal Meat, Haji Baba and Abraham Organics. You can also order halal pre-prepared meals and meats from Tesco and Ocado, which offers same-day delivery. As for ready meals, places like Frozen Halal, Halal Ready Made Meals and Healthy Halal all offer cheap and healthy meals.
Purchasing halal food on campus
Lots of universities offer halal options on campus, including University of Exeter, University of Manchester, Kent University, University of Sheffield, University of Oxford, Cardiff University, University of Lincoln and University of York – just to name a few.
Check your university’s website to see if they offer halal options. If they don’t, they can often point you in the right direction with halal restaurants in the local area.