Swiss based GateGourmet, is probably the biggest and most successful of the airline catering companies and supplies many of the world’s leading airlines including BA. Its problem is the success of its expansion into Middle Eastern and Asian markets for which it produces halal meals to the strict Muslim dietary rules.
Currently, it runs two production lines but, as the halal side grows, it becomes more difficult to maintain the separation. So, the solution is to run a single line and for all of us to have halal as standard
GateGourmet have been very up-front in this. They say that this is pure economics and not driven by social or religious considerations.
An airline insider said that one has to have some sympathy for the company. They produce an awful lot of meals for Asian airlines and clearly have to offer halal as an option on traditionally western services. They are a big employer at Heathrow and the decision does make economic sense. The problem is going to be the sensitivities of passengers to what many will see as an unwanted change.
This is not going to happen overnight but is a factor in the rise and spread of Muslim populations.
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17 September 2010, 09:58AM
I suppose that you cannot blame the company for wanting to make their production line more efficient. The problem is that this comes at a time when people will see it as having a politically correct or maybe even semi-religious background.
JennyLamb, United Kingdom
17 September 2010, 12:02PM
Many people will see this as having religious overtones. I hope that BA and the other airlines resist the move.
20 September 2010, 07:39AM
From what I hear on the news, this problem is not limited to airline food. It seems that lots of food companies are making the decision to use single production systems working to Halal standards.
20 September 2010, 05:45PM
I am not a active animal rights supporter but I do think we have to take some regard for the way that we treat our animals. The ritual killing required for halal (or approved) food is, to our standards, somewhat barbaric.
jes, north east
24 September 2010, 10:41AM
According to a report there are around 3% of Muslims in Britain, seems very unfair to me that the remaining 97% have to have halal forced on us. I for one will never eat it. Having watched videos of the slaughter it is putrid, barbaric and sick!
James Knight, Bath
29 September 2010, 07:03AM
The big problem is with lamb. It seems that the other meats are generally ok but, with a lot of UK lamb coming in from New Zealand, we no longer seem to have any choice in what we buy.
29 September 2010, 08:49AM
Barbaric? - perhaps somewhat less so than shooting a metal spike into the animals brain or electrocuting it to within an inch of its life and then dragging it to slaughter. All this for (non halal) meat which is then full of potentially harm causing blood.
Peter Kingdom, Wiltshire
29 September 2010, 09:18AM
my2cents raises an interesting point about the actual quality of meat and the slaughter process. The sad thing is that I do not know the answer and, I guess, nor do most people.
Mr Williams, Newport, Wales
29 September 2010, 03:10PM
There was a list in the paper the other day of the supermarkets that stock Halal lamb as standard. Where do they get the idea that we want this?
Mr Mun Irub, Sutton, Surrey
4 October 2010, 02:27AM
Wake up people and look beyond your confines. The world has changed to a global society and GateGourmet being an international firm, preparing over 200 million meals for an all international client of 230 Airlines in 120 countries has to take a business decision. Should its specialised meals Halal, Kosher styled preparation be a standard or still be a specialised offering? My guess is ,on a scale, the consumption of halal/non-halal offering tilts in the direction of halal standardisation making more business sense. Simple. Its numbers that count sometimes for the company to remain competitive.
Colin Westwood, Oxford
6 October 2010, 11:42AM
Mr Irub is correct but, with respect, I think he misses the point.
K Singh, London
24 April 2011, 11:13PM
I will not be flying with BA anymore. It is shameful that companies are giving in on Islamic ways and forcing everyone including Sikhs and Hindus, who do not eat halal to abandon meat and now BA.
28 April 2011, 02:43PM
I urge K Singh to have a voice write to BA....it is people like yourself who will make a change...just for info ....consuming halal meat for certain people is forbidden the same way non halal meat is for muslims. All airlines and not just BA do not openly say that the meat they serve is Halal. People have a right to make an informed choice BEFORE digging their naan into the chicken tikka masala!
Family Man, Bournemouth
15 March 2012, 03:32AM
I think the world has become much tolerant than it was before as we can see the supermarkets, airlines, department stores and so on have adopted the diverse cultural approach and their purpose are the same, it is to get closer to people and to meet the diverse needs. It is a development of humanities in such a way respecting each other whether you are the minority or the minority groups. It is a good way of showing good and Honorable gestures to any other people regardless of their genders, racial and social backgrounds. For being a truly civilized and inclusive society, it is so easy to pull the gap of differences even closer.
11 December 2012, 11:32AM
It is a disgrace that such an ethically sensitive subject is just 'decided' without consultation of the people. As mentioned, some religions cannot eat halal meat. I will not eat it out of choice as I have been a veggie now for over a year. I have never knowingly eaten halal as I believe it is barbaric in its processes. Imagine if the reverse decision was made, and supply lines were merged not serving halal meat? We would never hear the end of it. I, for one, would be afraid to fly again...
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