Oriental Melon with Crunchy Taste
Increasing Popularity in Japan and ASEAN Countries
Oriental melon is a relatively new fruit to foreigners. It is a representative summer fruit in Korea and has a long history of cultivation since the period of the Three Kingdoms (Goguryo, Baekje and Silla, first century BC to seventh century AD).
The most famous melon-producing area in Korea is Seongju Country located in North Gyeongsang Province. It grows 70 percent of the total amount of oriental melon cultivated in Korea. Seongju County was able to become the country’s largest center for oriental melon production thanks to the optimal conditions for growing melon. The area has a clear difference between night and day temperatures, less fog, and more sunshine.
True Melon Selected by Lotte Mart,
Product of Wolhang Nonghyup
Wolhyang Nonghyup is a major agricultural cooperative located in and dealing with melons from Seongju County. It manages over 100 farms and annually trades 4,000 tons of oriental melons. This amounts to 10 percent of the melons produced in Seongju County.
The oriental melon of Wolhang Nonghyup has its own brand - Chamseureoun Chameo (literally “true and fresh oriental melon”). But, to Korean consumers, it’s more familiar as “the brand of melons sold at Lotte Marts.” That’s because it’s been the only melon offered in Lotte Marts for the past five years. In addition, Wolhang Nonghyup is an already famous large-scale retailer in Japan and Southeast Asia. The agricultural cooperative has put in a lot of effort to achieve such remarkable success. It has hired certified managers who frequently visit the 11 Agricultural Products Processing Centers (APCs) to ensure that all the melons have uniformly high quality. The cooperative also continuously makes investments in the improvement of APC facilities. An automatic scale system that costs about USD$90,000 was introduced last year to lead the production of high-quality oriental melons.
Targeting the ASEAN Markets -
Sales Increased with Small Packaging
Last year Wolhang Nonghyup started exporting to Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The oriental melon of the cooperative is getting a favorable response in the local markets and the amount of exports increased from five tons in 2012 to 20 tons by May 2013.
Ryu Sang-cheon, an assistant manager of Wolhang Nonghyup, said, “We carry out promotions in many places for the local consumers who are not familiar with the oriental melon. Those who have tasted our melons said they are delicious and purchased our products.” In fact, at the direct sales event in JUSCO stores located in the Cone Heel and Tsuen Wan areas of Hong Kong, 1.3 tons of the melons were sold in just two days.
Highlighting the safety of the products through promotion events is an important strategy that helped Wolhyang Nonghyup increase its exports. The cooperative acquired the certification of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) for environmentally clean cultivation. To supply only the safe melons, each fruit is washed a minimum of three times at the processing centers. Based on these efforts, Wolhang Nonghyup was able to sign a contract with SKL, an ASEAN wholesaler, to export 30 tons of oriental melon this year.
Here is one more secret to the success: It is the change of packaging. Assistant manager Ryu explained, “When we replaced 10kg boxes with small packages of two oriental melons in one bag, we received a very favorable response from the consumers.”
Yun revealed his ambitions, “We will continue promoting the excellence of the oriental melon, launch products in different types of packaging, and make other efforts to meet consumers’ needs so that we can expand our export markets further in the ASEAN countries and to China.”
Inquiries Wolhang Agricultural Cooperative
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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