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Korean Pear and Roasted Seaweed Have a Market Value in the US

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Could you briefly introduce yourself and your company?


My name is Seung-hoon Lee and I am the CEO of Jayone Foods Inc. Jayone Foods is a Para-mount, South Cali-fornia based food company founded in 1999. We first started as a small company producing tofu and noodles at a local factory for Korean supermarkets. In 2002, we started to supply products to the American supermarkets. The interest in the Korean roasted seaweed increased as we started introducing it at American food shows. Currently, we are supplying aloe juice, roasted seaweed, crunch rice rolls, BBQ sauce, and many other products to the Korean and American supermarkets in the United States.


What made you import Korean agri-products?


Korean agri-products seem underestimated in the US, even though they are excellent in taste and quality. For this reason we selected the high-end supermarkets - Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and so on - as our target to showcase high-quality Korean agri-products.


What kinds of Korean agri-products are you importing?


We import over 700 products from Korea that range from fresh agri-products to frozen foods. To briefly introduce just some of our leading products, we deal with roasted seaweed, jumbo shingo pear, Jeju mandarin, aloe juice, rice crunch roll snack, and BBQ sauce.
How large is the amount of Korean agri-products you are importing?
Our best selling product, roasted seaweed’s sales volume this year has exceeded USD$20 million. The sales volume of the Korean jumbo shingo pear hsa reached USD$1 million and that of the Jeju about USD$500,000.


Who are the main buyers of the imported Korean agri-products?


Among the American supermarkets, these are Costco, Sam’s Club, Trader Joe’s, Fresh & Easy, Whole Foods, and Wegmans. As for the Chinese supermarkets, we supply to 99 Ranch Markets and many others.
How do local people respond to the imported Korean agri-products?
Local people show a very positive response toward Korean agri-products. However, the price is generally higher than that for agri-products from other countries such as China and Japan, so measures have to be taken to deal with the pressure of the price competition.


Have you experienced any problems in importing Korean agri-products? Any suggestions on what needs to be improved?


I think the biggest problem of Korean agri-products is inconsistency in quality and price. And the Korean government’s role is very important in this business. The Korean government must provide more support, so that more products can be exported to the US market.
Could you tell us about your future plans for importing Korean agri-products?
We are trying to develop more items that can appeal to customers of various ethnic backgrounds and we are doing our best to spread the taste of Korea.

Inquiries   Jayone Foods Inc.    
Tel   +1-562-633-7400    
E-mail   shlee@jayone.com
Website   www.jayone.com

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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