Despite recent reports to the contrary, many fast-food and restaurant chains in Britain have been using halal – in Arabic "permissible" or "lawful" – meat for years. Nearly 100 KFC outlets around the country serve halal-approved chicken, as do around 75 – a fifth – of Nando's. The sandwiches served in selected Subway stores have contained halal meat since 2007, while all Pizza Express chicken is halal. Even McDonald's trialled a halal offering, before deciding the changes required to its kitchen procedures would be too great.
Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons, which sell halal ranges at selected stores, and Boots, which sells halal baby food, serve halal meat firstly because people want it: Britain's Muslim population is growing – 3% of the population in the 2001 census, 5% in 2011, and an estimated 8.2%, or around 5.6 million people, by 2030. As KFC puts it: "Feedback from consumers has indicated that there is significant demand for halal food … We've chosen [to serve it] in stores in areas where we expect demand for halal restaurants."
For Pizza Express, as for the major food service companies that supply schools, hospitals and airlines, serving halal chicken across the board simplifies the supply chain and minimises the risk of complaints from customers who may unknowingly eat non-halal meat.