Successful Experience in Convenience Stores in Korea and Japan, Starting Exports to ASEAN, Europe, and Russia
When it comes to kimchi, Korea calls all shorts. There are many different kimchi products and producers on the Korean market. Among them, Hanul Co., Ltd. is a renowned producer of healthy kimchi.
A major factor behind the long-running success is the company’s invention: the Kkomakimchi brand. Baek Chang-gi, the CEO of Hanul Co., Ltd., said, “The success of Kkomakimchi has consolidated the company’s position in this market.”
The name Kkomakimchi literally means “kid kimchi” (kkoma stands for “kid” in Korean). But it does not mean the product is for kids. In fact, the name conveys the main characteristic and advantage of the brand’s products - small packaging. Mr. Baek explains that the name was chosen to emphasize that the packages are as small as little kids.
When Kkomakimchi was released onto the market in 1992, small packaged kimchi products were rare. Mr. Baek recalls those years, “Kimchi is a common food in Korea. I thought I wouldn’t succeed without innovation, so I came upon developing and selling kimchi in small packages.” And he was right. Kkomakimchi became a hit at convenience stores and has earned Hanul Co., Ltd. wide recognition. The brand has gained a 60 percent share in three leading convenience stores in Korea (GS25, Family Mart, and Buy the Way). This small kimchi has its fans abroad too. Hanul first exported its products to Japan in 1994. Since then, the brand has successfully entered major Japanese convenience stores such as Family Mart, Seven Eleven, and Ministop.
Ranks No. 1 in Convenience Stores in Korea with Small Packaged Kimchi
Mr. Baek said, “In the past, many foreigners did not know about kimchi and its excellent qualities. So we had to modify the products to match the tastes of local consumers. To Japan, we exported the salty tasting kimchi products. But nowadays, thanks to the growing popularity of kimchi worldwide, many local consumers want to buy original kimchi. So we are exporting to Japan the same products that we sell in the Korean market - baechu kimchi (napa cabbage kimchi), chonggak kimchi (young radish kimchi), yeolmu kimchi (radish leaf kimchi), mukgeunji (fermented kimchi), and so on.”
Receiving Praise for the Cleanliness and Constant Taste
The delicious taste and hygienic production also play an important role in expanding the influence of the brand. Mr. Baek said, “Kkomakimchi uses only safe Korean agriproducts and it is made at a factory equipped with facilities that received HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), ISO 9001, and ISO 2400 certifications. To make the products taste fresh, we salt the cabbage at a low temperature and wash the preserved cabbage five times in natural bedrock water.” And there’s more. The next step is the washing using micro bubbles. Then, the cabbage passes through the machines that filter out fine dust. Only after the process is complete is the cabbage seasoned. Mr. Baek says, “Recently, Russian buyers visited our factory. They took a tour of the factory and were impressed with the hygiene at every step of the production process.”
Kimchi is a fermented food, so its flavor changes during transportation. Hanul Co., Ltd. developed its own knowhow to maintain the original taste until the products reach stores. The company uses a system of refrigerated transportation and controls the temperature during loading and unloading.
Based on these efforts, Hanul Co., Ltd. was able to export Kkomakimchi to Germany (Kkomakimchi is served on the flights of Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines), England, and ASEAN. What’s more, the company recently received a prize at the Korean Agri-Product Export Awards.
Actively Exploring ASEAN Market
An export MOU was embedded in the contract between Hanul Co., Ltd. and Banana World Holdings of Thailand. With the new contract, Hanul Co., Ltd. hopes to expand the share of Kkomakimchi in the ASEAN countries - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and so on. The company will produce Kkomakimchi with cabbage obtained from local producers and seasonings delivered directly from Korea.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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