Soft in the Mouth, Milk Ice Made of Grade-1A Milk
Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert made by finely grinding blocks of ice and adding assorted syrups and toppings such as fruits and dan-pat (sweet red bean). The most popular type of bingsu in Korea is pat-bingsu. It is made by adding to ice flakes a paste called dan-pat―a mixture of steamed red beans (adzuki beans) with sugar and salt. Over time, as more and more bakeries and coffee shops started selling bingsu and other ice-based desserts, Korean pat-bingsu has evolved into a deluxe food with various ingredients and colorful toppings including milk, fruits, rice cakes, condensed milk, and ice cream. Some new types have been introduced―such as fruit bingsu with an assortment of berries and fruit slices and coffee bingsu with coffee added instead of milk. In the last few years, bingsu―along with coffee and ice cream―has become a common food to have after a meal. It is now enjoyed not only in the hot summer, but all year round. As bingsu has become all the rage, many franchise companies selling bingsu have sprouted on the Korean market. SNOWBALL is a franchise brand that opened in 2010 serving various types of bingsu.
Using High-Quality, Safe Ingredients Including Korean Red Beans
SNOWBALL’s motto is, “Healthy bingsu that you can eat with children.” The motto reflects the company’s focus on healthy, natural, and pure, rather than luxurious-looking bingsu.
For example, SNOWBALL uses only rich milk ice made with grade-1A milk produced in Korea. The ice is made with that milk in lieu of water and then shaved into the consistency of a soft snow. The company also uses only Korean red beans of a high quality to make dan-pat and Korean fruits whose reliability is ensured to make fruit toppings.
Park Hee-jun, CEO of SNOWBALL, said that the company is trying hard to make bingsu that the whole family can enjoy without food safety worries. He revealed the working principle of SNOWBALL: no matter how high the cost is, the company uses high-quality ingredients to make proper bingsu.
Toppings Served in Separate Bowls
The bingsu selling in SNOWBALL stores is different from the colorful desserts served in other places. It does not come out with all the garnishings on the top. Rather, the toppings are served in a separate bowl so that customers can use as much of each type of topping as they wish. The only exception is limited edition seasonal entries. Mr. Park introduces SNOWBALL bingsu: “You can enjoy the rich taste of milk to the last spoon of bingsu because each bowl of our bingsu is like a cup of milk. In fact, the milk ice is delicious as is, even without toppings.”
Also in contrast to other stores, SNOWBALL does not sell jumbo size bingsu. Each bowl is one serving, an amount good for one person to enjoy. The policy is inspired by the Korean custom of everyone ordering a different dish and trying each other’s order. Just the same, at SNOWBALL friends can each get the bingsu they like and share the toppings with one another.
Special Containers Designed to Keep Bingsu from Melting for Half an Hour
SNOWBALL’s menu includes 30 entries: coffee, tea, porridges, toasts, and, of course, bingsu. In the bingsu category, along with the main entry, pat-bingsu, the most popular ones are strawberry bingsu, grapefruit bingsu, and mango bingsu.
The strawberry bingsu is a wholesome dessert with no chemical additives in the accompanying toppings. The grapefruit bingsu uses grapefruit pulp but does not taste sour or bitter. The mango bingsu is made with apple mango, which is known for its high sugar content that makes the dessert sweet without syrup.
According to Mr. Park, all types of SNOWBALL bingsu are available for take-out. The specially manufactured containers prevent bingsu from melting so one can travel with them for some 30 minutes and then store the product in a refrigerator at home and it won’t change the taste.
Preparing to Enter Foreign Markets in Southeast Asia and Beyond
SNOWBALL currently has 15 franchisees in Korea. The company has been focusing on the stability of business rather than expansion. Thanks to these efforts, the company has won many loyal customers and some of the regular customers have become the franchisees.
Starting from this year, SNOWBALL decided to advance into foreign markets. The management is confident that the company has a good potential to succeed overseas because it receives recognition from domestic consumers for the taste and quality of the dishes it serves. To promote the company abroad, SNOWBALL participated in six overseas exhibitions in the first half of this year.
Mr. Park said, “People in the restaurant industry overseas are showing a great deal of interest in SNOWBALL because we serve toppings separately and this approach fits well with local markets because we can offer toppings according to the preferences of the local consumers.” He emphasized that the goal is to expand the business from Southeast Asia where negotiations on opening stores are already under way to other markets including the US.
Taste a New Product, Bing-tte!
Bing-tte, an amalgamation of bingsu and latte, is a new product that was launched this season. Customers can drink it on the go, like a cup of coffee, without the need to scoop up the ice flakes. It is halfway between a slushy and a shake.
SNOWBALL bing-tte comes in three types: chocolate-crunchy bing-tte, melon bing-tte, and dan-pat bing-tte. It is a unique beverage that can be enjoyed only at SNOWBALL.
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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