High sugar content and lots of moisture are the main merits of a melon. These days, people can enjoy melons in all seasons, but Koreans especially like to eat the fruit in the summertime. Having a cool, sweet melon in the midst of the summer is very refreshing. What’s more, melon is rich in nutrition (iron, niacin, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and so on), so it is both delicious and healthy.
BJ Melon Co., Ltd. is a premium melon producer. The company was established in 2008 in Namwon City (North Jeolla Province) for the purpose of producing high-end melons.
Active Exploration of Overseas Markets…Focus on Building Its Own Brand
From the very beginning, BJ Melon started its business with a strong will to enter the Japanese market as well as to sell in the domestic, Korean market. Park Bum-soon, president of BJ Melon, conceived of delivering melons directly to Japanese consumers, not as a cooking ingredient. That is why BJ Melon has been focusing on building its own melon brand.
The company put a lot of effort into creating the brand name. They first selected several candidate names for the brand and tested how these would be pronounced in different countries. They wanted to find out which name trips off the tongue so that consumers all around the world could easily remember it. That is because in the long run BJ Melon plans expansion beyond the Japanese market. Finally, it was decided to sell BJ Melon’s premium melons under the brand name Melonika.
Production of High Quality Melons…Thorough Management of Seeds and Close Supervision of Melon Farms
To produce premium melons, BJ Melon is rigorously managing the melon seeds. The seeds for Melonika were developed and registered in cooperation with a Japanese company. BJ Melon only supplies Melonika seeds to 60 farms and strives to keep the quality of the cultivated melons equally high on all the farms. The company staff, who are skilled in melon production techniques, often visit the farms and disseminate production guidelines for Melonika. If a farm doesn’t follow the Melonika production process, it can no longer receive the seeds from BJ Melon.
Mr. Park emphasizes, “The strongest point of our farms is that they only specialize in producing melon. That is why they have more passion for melons, better skills and knowledge, and make greater efforts in cultivating melons than farms that grow melons along with other agricultural crops.”
Construction of the Only Facility in Korea Designed Specifically for Melon
To raise the competitiveness and reliability of the brand, BJ Melon obtained certification of pesticide-free produce for Melonika. Getting an organic produce certification is planned for this year. What’s more, the company is building new facilities - a greenhouse 26,400㎡ in size, sorting facility, cold warehouse, and more - to further improve the quality of the fruit. The first in Korea production facility designed specifically for melons will be completed in September and the first harvest of Melonika in the new facility is expected in December.
Mr. Park says, “We will be able to produce and export Melonika overseas in any season with the help of our new facilities starting from the next year. Our aim is one-stop production - from planting to sorting and distribution.”
This year, the Korean melon producer is concentrating on brisk distribution in the premium domestic market and a soft landing in Japan. Mr. Park thinks success among the fastidious Japanese consumers is an essential step towards advancing to other foreign markets more easily. He says, “At present, we are focusing on Japan and preparing for breaking into other overseas markets such as Taiwan, the US, and China. Our ultimate goal is to make Melonika a worldwide melon brand that can last for over a century.”
What Melons Can Get a Melonika Brand Mark
Selling points of Melonika include the soft texture, high sugar content, and strong sweet scent. Any melon that has a Melonika brand mark on it is of excellent quality. That is because only the fruits that meet the brand standards - in terms of sugar content, weight, and shape - can pass the sorting process and get a Melonika brand mark.
The sugar content standard for Melonika is 14°Bx, but most of the Melonika melons are over 15°Bx. It is not accidental that each Melonika melon weighs between 1.4 and 1.6kg. Mr. Park explains, “Melon tastes best if it is cut once and eaten immediately. We keep the size of our melons just right for a family of four to enjoy at one meal.”
The price range for Melonika melons is about KRW15,000~20,000 (USD$13.45~18.00), which is three times the average price of melons. The fruit is exported to Japan at a similar price, which is comparable to the prices of melons grown in Japan.
Mr. Park says, “Foreign buyers consider Melonika to be a premium melon and some Japanese buyers directly ship to us wooden boxes to be used as high-end packaging for Melonika. We expect this year’s output of Melonika to reach 600 tons. BJ Melon already concluded a contract with a Japanese buyer to whom we will supply most of the output of Melonika this year.”
Inquiries BJ Melon Co., Ltd.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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