A new tool, to be launched at the end of April, will help Muslim consumers make decisions more swiftly. The WhatsHalal app can supposedly inform users if a food product is halal or not – just by scanning its barcode or ingredients list. A beta version of the Halal Scanner is expected to be launched in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
How does it work?
The “halal scanner” will identify whether a product is halal based on the product image, barcode and ingredients list. These three identification methods will be based on community-driven data that is collected over time. Through the app, Muslim consumers will first take a photo of the product.
It will then be verified by the WhatsHalal team as to whether the packaging of the item contains the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore or commonly known as Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) logo. If so, the product will be automatically accepted as halal.
Instances where a product does not have the MUIS logo, the ingredients list will be analyzed. When the ingredients list is scanned via the app, WhatsHalal will automatically conduct an optical character recognition (OCR) on it.
Co-founders Azman Ivan Tan and Salehin Amat Kamsin hope that this app will be a guide among Muslim consumers as it speeds up the halal identification process but it assures users that it’s not created to dictate a user’s decision.
They recognize the limitations of the apps as it faces operation constraints. It would be tough for the team to verify the halal status especially in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where Muslims are a majority.
However, the co-founders assured that this is where the halal product database comes into play since with the increased number of scannings would consequently increase the database.
Furthermore, the company is looking to incorporate a translation feature into the scanner so it could be used around the globe while collecting information for the database.