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Globalising kosher and halal markets
Authors: John Lever and Johan Fischer

Over the last two decades, global demand for kosher products has been growing steadily, and many non-religious consumers view kosher as a healthy food option: in the US over 60 per cent of kosher food consumption is linked to non-religious values associated with health and food quality. This book explores the emergence and expansion of global kosher and halal markets with a particular focus on the UK and Denmark. While Kosher is a Hebrew term meaning 'fit' or 'proper', halal is an Arabic word that literally means 'permissible' or 'lawful'. The book discusses the manufacture and production of kosher and halal meat (both red meat and poultry) with specific reference to audits/inspections, legislation, networking, product innovation and certification. It draws on contemporary empirical material to explore kosher and halal comparatively at different levels of the social scale, such as individual consumption, the marketplace, religious organisations and the state. It compares the major markets for kosher/halal in the UK with those in Denmark, where kosher/halal are important to smaller groups of religious consumers. Denmark plays an important role in biotechnology that is compatible with what we call kosher/halal transnational governmentality. The book explores how Jewish and Muslim consumers in the UK and Denmark understand and practice kosher consumption in their everyday lives. It also explores how 'compound practice' links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual.

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John Lever and Johan Fischer

shop in the entire country and where the purchase of kosher products on the Internet or bringing food back from abroad has greater significance. Among our mostly middle-​class informants we explore to what extent they are focused on kosher as specific forms of standardised ‘qualities’ in their everyday lives (Callon et al. 2002). We also explore how ‘compound practice’ (Warde 2016) links eating with issues such as health and spirituality, for example, and with the influence of secularism and ritual. It soon becomes clear that all our consumers are acutely aware that

in Religion, regulation, consumption
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John Lever and Johan Fischer

important aspect of this is the way in which kosher and halal are moving beyond conventional meat and food production and consumption into biotechnology, for example. Thus, kosher and halal markets signify how material religion has increased in significance within the last two decades or so. Concepts such as transnational governmentality (Ferguson and Gupta 2002), qualification (Callon et al. 2002) and compound practice (Warde 2016) are conventionally applied to ‘secular’ processes, but the empirical data from the UK and Denmark that both conditions and is conditioned by

in Religion, regulation, consumption
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Global kosher and halal markets
John Lever and Johan Fischer

and halal practices. Drawing on practice-​theoretical approaches, Warde (2016:  2)  sees eating as a type of cultural consumption inseparable from aesthetics and everyday life. Most importantly, perhaps, we are inspired by the term ‘compound practice’ that captures the complexity of eating in the intersections between different levels of the social scale. Compound practices are shaped by the sharing of practices (Warde 2016: 5) among family members, for example, and are subject to ‘pressures’ from other areas (Warde 2016: 165) –​for example, ‘health’ and

in Religion, regulation, consumption
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John Lever and Johan Fischer

might be quite different. Others have a more wide-​ranging understanding of halal that moves beyond food consumption to consider everyday (halal) actions alongside more relaxed opinions about certification and/​or stunning. This makes the process of defining levels of observance more difficult and open to interpretation than it is in the case of kosher consumers. Yet as with kosher consumers, compound practice (Warde 2016) is evident in relation to health and spiritually, for example, and the changing nature of food production, all of which require more 140 14 Ha la

in Religion, regulation, consumption
Alan Warde, Jessica Paddock, and Jennifer Whillans

complex compound practice of eating can be subjected to extensive and critical reflection, a potentiality realised by people popularly referred to as ‘foodies’. It is a term widely used in the UK now which belies precise definition but implies exceptional enthusiasm in culinary matters. The term ‘foodie’ arose in almost all the interviews, sometimes introduced spontaneously by the interviewee, sometimes by the interviewer. Only a few failed to recognise the term. When asked if they themselves were foodies the majority said no, two were ambivalent, and seven

in The social significance of dining out