Heechang Trading, established in 1980 in Nambumin-dong, Busan, is a marine products export company with 30 years of exporting knowhow.
Last year, amid the world economic crisis, Heechang had KRW47 billion in exports of its marine products - such as mackerel, anchovy, squid, and hairtail - and in salt-fermented seafoods - jeotgal, including pollack roe jeotgal and squid jeotgal. With this staggering figure in mind, Heechang raised its export goal for this year by KRW3 billion to KRW50 billion. The export company, through fish markets, buys the highest quality marine products produced nationwide including hairtail, anchovy, mackerel pike, and squid. They process them into jeotgal or dried products, sell and export them. Currently, Heechang exports to around 16 countries including the US, Canada, Japan, China and the UK. In Saipan and the UK, some supermarkets offer Korean agriproducts imported exclusively through Heechang.
Catering to Preferences of Local Consumers and Glocalizing the Taste of Jeotgal
The most popular products among the items Heeching exports are pollack roe jeotgal and squid jeotgal. Although the company uses pollack roe imported from the US and Russia, when it comes to the other ingredients for jeotgal - squid, red pepper powder, and salt - it sticks to only products made in Korea. For the selection of food ingredients, Heechang always chooses the best ones. If the best quality ingredients are not available in Busan or its vicinity, the company is willing to search anywhere in the country to find the ingredients that meet its standards. This is because it believes good products can only be made with good ingredients.
Heechang is also flexible in determining the tastes of its products. Even in the very Korean food, jeotgal, it tries to reflect the preferences of local consumers as much as possible. To this end, the company has its workers stationed in the import markets in order to analyze the tastes of local consumers. This enables the company to produce diversified products in different tastes, shapes, and sizes. Currently, some 20 workers of Heechang are stationed in eight countries including the US, UK, and Canada. Thanks to the hard work of these dedicated professionals, Heechang has been able to develop over 30 products in its own brand.
Production of Low-Sodium Jeotgal through Quick-Freezing Process
The jeotgal products Heechang produces are famous for their low salinity. Since the products’ tastes are not that pungent, foreign consumers consider them healthy and palatable. Using a quick-freezing system in which the seafoods go through the quick freezing process at -50℃ or below has contributed to achieving the low salinity. This system makes it unnecessary to increase salinity for the purpose of preserving the seafoods from decay. As a result, Heechang’s jeotgal products boast the salinity of only 4.5 percent, compared to that of 8~12 percent in ordinary jeotgal products. To provide fresh products in a timely manner, Heechang has equipped itself with this advanced system at its headquarters in Busan and branches in Incheon and Yongin.
From Careful Purchase of Ingredients to Thorough Hygiene Control
Heechang is also extra careful to control hygiene. The products are made in HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Product) certified facilities and pass through a thorough production-management system. From the very first stage of purchasing raw ingredients, Heechang puts in a greater effort to inspect many factors like salinity, microorganisms, and moisture. Another important aspect for Heechang is packaging that improves the value of each product. The company has its own packaging design department that develops and applies the designs that may attract foreign consumers. They also provide labels in English and French.
A key to Heechang’s success is its principle of investing 5 percent of the total sales in the improvement of its facilities and product development. Now the company is planning to rev up its export activities. They are taking the London 2012 Olympics as a golden opportunity and are making a full effort to expand their export markets to Europe.
Kwon Yong-beom, head of the planning department, explains that by 2015, Heechang will be focusing more on expanding its European markets and will continue to spread the Korean food culture around the world through the export of agriproducts.
Inquiries HEECHANG TRADING CO., LTD. Tel +82-51-241-4335 Fax +82-51-241-2434 Website www.heechang-trade.co.kr
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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