Breakthrough in baby food: Mumtaz Food to launch healthier halal range

Exclusive: One of Yorkshire's best-known Asian food specialists is planning to improve the health of babies across the world by launching halal baby food.

The food is to be introduced into Britain by Bradford-based Mumtaz Food Industries and will be sold at leading stores.

The product is the brainchild of Mumtaz Khan, the multi-millionaire owner of the Mumtaz curry restaurant, which stands on the site where he first opened a 12 square metre takeaway 26 years ago.

Mr Khan is believed to be the first person to pioneer halal baby food on a major scale.

He has bought a factory in Pamplona in northern Spain, the home of the famous bull running festival, where the food will be manufactured and dozens of jobs will be created.

Many Muslim babies are malnourished because parents cannot find baby food with high enough protein content that conforms to their religious teachings.

Meat that is not slaughtered in the correct halal way is classed as a forbidden food for a Muslim so babies are fed a diet of vegetables.

Mr Khan told the Yorkshire Post he was concerned that a poor diet was prohibiting many Muslim babies' development and said there were not enough products on the market which catered for them.

"Five years ago there was a report carried out by a leading paediatrician which showed that Muslim babies are mentally slower and don't develop as they should because they don't get the protein when needed," he said.

"Their mothers are always feeding them with vegetarian food so there is not enough protein when the babies most need it.

"So the effects are seen on their mental development.

"Each bottle will have 20 per cent more protein so we can compete with all major brands.

"It's got no artificial additives or preservatives – it's a totally natural product.

"We've been researching the product with Muslims and the response has been really enthusiastic.

"I can't compete with prices but I can with the quality and that is what Mumtaz is all about."

Mr Khan added the food could be eaten by all youngsters, irrespective of religion, and would be launched in the next two months.

He said it made business sense to manufacture the food in Spain.

Mr Khan said: "Logically for us it is cheaper to manufacture the products in Spain and export from there to the Middle East and Asian countries.

"If you manufacture in the UK you struggle to export to Pakistan.

"At the same time it is much cheaper to manufacture the product in Spain."

Mumtaz Food Industries is also set to launch a range of 10 cooking sauces and marinades which will be targeted at both the retail and catering industries.

The company, which has enjoyed enormous success by supplying its own 133 lines of Mumtaz branded food and drink to stores including Asda, Tesco, Boots and Morrisons, will be aiming to add its new products to the supermarket shelves.

Mr Khan said he had personally experimented on different ingredients for weeks in the restaurant's kitchen before deciding on the final combinations.