All products made by the Bilal Group are 100% halal. Not only meat, but all material, from sauces to herbs up to cleaning devices and detergents are halal. The same goes for all suppliers to Bilal. The Dutch company has received the HACCP and BRC food safety certificates as well as the HQC halal certificate. These are all recognized worldwide.
Although the Netherlands still accounts for 60% of revenue, Bilal also exports. “Our products are now on sale in 26 countries. The UK is an important market while Surinam, Kuwait and Togo are our latest export countries.” Nowadays Bilal Çaki prefers to stress the fact that Bilal Group is Dutch. “All the chicken meat we buy comes from the Netherlands because we know we are getting a top quality product. When we sell abroad, Made in Holland opens doors worldwide. In places such as Dubai, our customers know that ‘Dutch’ is synonymous with ‘good‘, so they don’t even ask about our certificates anymore.”
In and out
Bilal processes incoming breast caps, legs and thighs into its own end products, which are fillets, deboned legs, chicken chops, chicken rolls, marinated tenderloins, brochettes and satay. All are in accordance with the specific wishes of its customers. These customers are the catering industry, restaurant businesses, diners, cafeterias and wholesalers. “About 70% of our customers buy from us because our products are halal certified. I foresee that very soon the other 30% part of customers – who buy because they like our quality – will grow to 40%. A British supermarket chain, which has recently become an important customer, didn’t necessarily choose us for our halal products, but because we make innovative, distinctive products.”
Automatically and manually
Mainly Marel systems are used to process Bilal’s products. In the new filleting hall, an AMF breast cap filleting system interfaces with a SystemFlex conveyor belt and buffer system.
Using this setup, Bilal harvests mainly heavy, double fillets. Further downstream, a Marel SmartLine Grader distributes the products. At Bilal, leg meat is deboned manually.
Bilal and Marel
“We were using other machinery before, but we recognized that Marel systems were much more advanced than the competition. This was completely in line with our demands, requirements and objectives. That’s why we opted for Marel’s filleting line. The SmartLine Grader is particularly interesting for us, because it can grade and batch simultaneously. In our new building, we want to be able produce larger volumes and be more specific in what we make. For this Marel Poultry is the right partner. Now we have optimized our efficiency and can create more customer-specific products in-house. In this way we can maintain and strengthen our leading position.
“Our aim is to become the Unilever of the halal sector,” says Bilal Çaki with a smile. “We are already trendsetters in the halal world. When we develop new products, we won’t do the traditional köfte or kebab, but innovative snacks such as chicken nuggets with a taco crisp coating – very popular among students – and chicken dinosaurs, specially made for children. Bilal Chicken is our core business, but we’re also into other food products such as pizzas. This is what we’re doing in the Jumbo, Netto, Coop and Plus supermarkets in Holland,” concludes Bilal Çaki.
Bilal Group was founded by father Mevlüt Çaki, who started a small halal butchery store in Amsterdam In 1989. One by one, his sons entered the business. In 2007, the Çaki brothers boosted growth and started exporting halal products. Bilal’s new building is located in the Amsterdam Westpoort port area. “We outgrew our previous factory; now we have a surface area of 6,000 m2 (64,583 ft2) six times what we had before.”