Many consumers these days are interested in “superfoods,” which are food products that are rich in nutrients and good for immunity but low in calories, such as acai berry and Greek yogurt. Seaweed has recently come into spotlight as a next generation superfood. CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and other American media have selected seaweed as the superfood of 2016. This trend, along with Hallyu (Korean culture wave), have contributed to a rapid increase in overseas consumption of Korean seaweed chips and other snacks made with seaweed. Kwangcheonkim, a large producer of processed seaweed in Korea, has developed a variety of seaweed snacks in accordance with the preferences of foreign consumers and is actively exporting its products abroad.
Advantages of Seaweed Snacks: Savory, Ample in Nutrition, and Low in Calories
Established in Hongseong County of South Chungcheong Province in 1970, Kwangcheonkim has grown to a large company steadily exporting seasoned seaweed, seaweed snacks, and other processed seaweed products to about fifty countries. Through market research and meetings with foreign buyers, Kwangcheonkim recognized the high potential of seaweed snacks in the foreign market very early. The company had noticed that the overseas consumption of snacks made with healthy ingredients was on the rise and that the image of seaweed in the West was improving, so it started developing seaweed snacks in 2012 and exporting them the following year.
Mr. Lee Kang-ho, an overseas sales manager of Gwangcheonkim, explains, “Many foreigners enjoy potato chips as a snack but they also know that potato chips are an unhealthy, high-calorie junk food. In contrast, seaweed snacks have the advantages of tasting great and being abundant in nutrition though low in calories. We promote seaweed products overseas because we are confident they are great as healthy snacks.”
A Variety of Seaweed Snack Products: Original, Honey Butter, Chili, and Other Flavors…Supplied to Starbucks Stores in Korea
Kwangcheonkim’s Seaweed Snack is offered in seven flavors—original, savory, crunchy, honey butter, BBQ, chili, and cuttlefish—to match the diverse tastes of foreign consumers. The products are sold abroad under the brand name Kimnori and are particularly popular as a nutritious snack for children and accompaniment to beer and diet food for adults. In addition, the company supplies its products to all Starbucks franchisees in Korea through an OEM (original equipment manufacturing) agreement.
Mr. Lee said, “The main markets of our Kimnori Seaweed Snack are the US, Russia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The products are sold there through large distributors such as Costco. Our overseas sales of seaweed snacks have recorded a rapid growth in a short period of time. Last year, they accounted for 20% (about US$2m) of our total exports of processed seaweed.”
Equipped with International Certifications such as ISO22000 and USDA Organic
Kwangcheonkim has earned trust of foreign buyers and consumers through meticulous management of product quality and safety. Processed seaweed products are manufactured on the production lines located in Hongseong County, Namhae County (South Gyeongsang Province), and Seongnam City (Gyeonggi Province). All of the production facilities possess HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), ISO22000 (International Organization for Standardization), and FSSC22000 (Food Safety System) certifications. Moreover, the company obtained a halal (KMF; Korean Muslim Federation) certification in 2013 and USDA Organic in 2014 to further raise reliability of its products among foreigners.
A New Taste and New Shape of Seaweed Snacks to Be Released
To make its seaweed snacks as popular abroad as potato chips, Kwangcheonkim is developing a new flavor and shape for its products. It aspires to offer a product made of seaweed and grains, which anyone can enjoy in a convenient way. The launch is planned for the end of this year to early next year.
Mr. Kim Jae-yoo, CEO of Kwangcheonkim, said, “We will actively promote our Kimnori Seaweed Snack in the US, China, and other foreign countries where the consumption of wholesome snacks is rising. We also target Vietnam because of the huge interest of local consumers in Korean agriproducts. To extend our export markets further, we will obtain other certifications such as Gluten-Free and Kosher. Kwangcheonkim will spare no effort to raise awareness of the delicious taste and nutritional value of Korean seaweed snacks overseas.”
Additional Info: What is Kimnori Seaweed Snack?
A layer of almonds and seasoning powder is added between two sheets of seaweed and roasted until crispy. The savory and crunchy flavors are designed for consumers who want to enjoy the authentic taste of the ingredients. The chili type appeals to the fans of spicy food, whereas the honey butter, BBQ, and cuttlefish flavors are a great fit for consumers who like trying unique flavors.
Kwangcheonkim Co., Ltd.
Tel : 070-4333-4517
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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