The First Priority: Trust…Keeping a Promise Is More Important than Immediate Gain
Confidence to Deliver “The Best Value for the Money”
Flexibility in Sorting and Packaging according to the Tastes of Overseas Consumers and Demands of Foreign Buyers
President of EVERGOOD Corporation
Among Korean chestnut exporters, EVERGOOD Corporation is perhaps the most famous exporter at home and abroad. Its main strengths are thorough quality control and export know-how accumulated over years of experience. <Korea AgraFood> has met with Kim Yong-woon, President of EVERGOOD, to listen to the stories related to exporting Korean fresh foods including chestnuts.
What kind of company is EVERGOOD?
The predecessor of EVERGOOD was Jungan Nongsan Co., Ltd., a company established in 1987. We jumped into the Korean agri-products export business some 35 years ago. At that time, we specialized in exporting various types of Korean foods - kimchi, fruits, fresh vegetables, chestnuts, etc. In 2009, the company changed its name to “EVERGOOD,” and since then we’ve been focusing on promoting excellent quality Korean agri-products in the global markets. If I count based on my own career in the export business, we’ve been engaged in agri-food exports for over 40 years. Our utmost goal is to introduce the world to healthy Korean foods and provide a happy food life to overseas consumers.
What kinds of Korean agri-products are you exporting?
EVERGOOD’s representative export item is the chestnut. It is also the item about which we have accumulated the most exporting know-how. We purchase chestnuts in Gongju (South Chung-cheong province) and Sancheong (South Gyeongsang province) - major producers of chestnut in Korea. This year we exported 1,500 tons of Korean chestnuts to overseas markets. In addition, we export various other Korean agri-products: sweet persimmon, Asian pear, apple, musk melon, strawberry, oriental melon, napa cabbage, and regular cabbage.
With what regions do you perform most transactions?
Our main buyers are in the US, Canada, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. We’re currently supplying Korean chestnut, our main export item, to Japanese and North American buyers.
Korean fresh fruits - apple, Asian pear, and musk melon - are distributed in Taiwan and North America. Also through EVERGOOD, Southeast Asian buyers are consistently importing sweet persimmon and strawberry.
How was the export business of EVERGOOD last year?
As you know, fresh agri-products are greatly influenced by the weather conditions. Last year, the fresh agri-products in Korea had a bad crop on account of typhoons and hail. South Chungcheong province and South Gyeongsang province, major producers of Korean chestnut, were severely hit by a typhoon. Due to the climate change, last year’s crops of apple and pear were also worse than usual. So securing a stable supply of products for export was our biggest concern last year. Moreover, it wasn’t easy for EVERGOOD to purchase fresh agri-products because the prices for some items were almost double the usual price. Selecting the high quality fresh agri-products that overseas buyers would be satisfied with was another tough task. Under these conditions, exporting fresh Korean agri-products overseas seemed an impossible enterprise last year. But EVERGOOD’s principle is “never breaking trust with foreign buyers, even if we run into losses.” So in the end, we were able to supple fresh agri-products to our foreign partners on time. In other words, because we value trust above immediate gain, we have been able to maintain very strong links with the foreign buyers, despite the fierce competition in the market.
What do you think of the competitiveness and weak points of fresh Korean food?
The strongest points are the high quality and food safety. Skilled workers and farmers thoroughly manage quality control for fresh Korean agri-products, from cultivating and harvesting to packing and distribution. Korean government agencies including aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.) regularly send out experts to producing areas and they check and confirm that the fresh agri-products produced in Korea are safe. As for our company, we are flexible in sorting and packaging to meet the demands and tastes of overseas buyers and consumers. Our main concern is the huge fluctuation of prices depending on the crop. Neverthe-less, many importers of fresh Korean food acknowledge that Korean products are “the best value for the money,” and I hope that they understand the situation and continue to cooperate.
Could you tell us about EVERGOOD’s future plans for exporting fresh Korean agri-products?
Based on the trust built with overseas buyers over a long time, our company is planning to consistently distribute high quality fresh Korean agri-products, including chestnut, to overseas markets. Collecting the latest information about trends abroad and satisfying the needs of foreign buyers and consumers is also a role EVERGOOD is trying to play. Organic foods and a healthy eating style are big trends around the world these days. We will make efforts to introduce reasonably priced, fresh organic Korean agri-products to foreign consumers. Thank you.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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