App to find halal food launched in South Korea before Winter Olympics

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Crave Halal enables the search for halal restaurants but the founders are considering opportunities with halal food products and retailers. ©CraveHalal
Crave Halal enables the search for halal restaurants but the founders are considering opportunities with halal food products and retailers. ©CraveHalal

Related tags: Halal food, South korea

Crave Halal, an iPhone app and e-website that helps Muslims to find halal food, has recently been launched in South Korea, just in time for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in February.

International visitors can find halal restaurants near them, check on information on halal food, confirm business hours of establishments and obtain accurate directions to get there.

Version 1.5 of the Crave Halal app has added more than 150 establishments in 30 cities listed for South Korea. This number is expected to further grow.

In the US and Canada, the co-founders Waqas Hussain and Nasir Mansoor claim to have a daily-growing list of more than 13,000 establishments.

“Our dedicated team manually contacts each restaurant to check whether or not they are truly a halal restaurant. Unlike many restaurant guides, which only look at the information online, we give them a call and have a quick chat to determine whether they are suitable for our directory,”​ they assured.

Potential for halal food products

When asked if they have plans to include halal convenience stores or products, they responded: “Expanding to food products is very do-able and certainly on our radar. We are looking into incorporating a sort of scanning tool (in the future), to verify the halal status of a product.”

They added that Crave Halal’s user base of a young Muslim consumer population, aged 18 to 35, is rapidly growing and they are considering opportunities for collaboration with halal food manufacturers or retailers, especially in market data or exposure.

Halal demand growing

Currently, the Muslim population in South Korea is small but Muslim tourism to South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, is steadily rising.

In 2016, almost one million Muslim tourists visited the country. The South Korean government estimated the volume of Muslim visitors to increase by at least 20% by 2018, especially with the upcoming Winter Olympics.

So far, Muslim tourists to South Korea have mainly come from the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries in Asia.

According to the founders, the idea for the app first began when a friend moved to a town in Arkansas, US. He searched online for halal food or stores around him but found nothing.

An Android version of Crave Halal is under development and will be released in Q1 of 2018.

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