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K-Food Products to Watch in 2017

In line with the popularity of Hallyu (the Korean wave) and the rising image of Korean cuisine as healthy, renowned world media such as the New York Times, the CNN, and the BBC are casting new light on Korean food products that are both wholesome and delicious. At the same time, the number of consumers pursuing a healthy life is also growing, and they are becoming more conscious of the safety of what they eat, so Korean products of high quality and reliable food safety are gaining more and more attention overseas.

Capitalizing on these trends, MAFRA (the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs) and aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation) have announced that they will move forward with the “Miraecle” project which is designed to support and promote Korean agricultural products with a high potential for export.

iraecle—pronounced similar to the English word "miracle"—combines Korean words for “future” (“mirae”) and "to be greater” (“keul”). It connotes a hope for the miraculous growth of the Korean food industry. Below, Korea AgraFood introduces our readers to ten types of products that are promoted under the Miraecle project and are expected to grow in sales volume in 2017.

□ Selected Products of the Miraecle Project

◎ Shine Muscat Grape, Dried Fruit, and Sweet Potato Snack

Shine Muscat grape can be eaten unskinned. It has a high sugar content (16 brix or higher), a beautiful round shape, and is crispy. The variety is cultivated in Cheonan of South Chungcheong Province and Sangju in North Gyeongsang Province, and was first exported to Southeast Asia last year. In 2017, Shine Muscat grape is going to be promoted in a series of events hosted in cooperation with large distributors and retailers in China.

Dried fruit made with tangerines and pineapples cultivated on Jeju Island, a representative ecologically clean area in Korea, is a highly nutritious wholesome snack. It is manufactured using low-temperature hot-air drying technology, which keeps the original taste, flavor, and color of the fruit intact without any additives. Currently, dried tangerines and pineapples are exported to China, the US, and Dubai under the brand name of Frunack.

Snacks made with sweet potato, such as sweet potato jelly and sweet potato caramel, were first introduced to overseas markets—the US, China, and Russia—last year, and have received positive responses. These snacks are a simple way to obtain multiple nutrients and enjoy sweet potato at the same time. This year, they will be offered in a newly refurbished packaging customized to appeal to overseas consumers, and the export volume is expected to increase.

# Information on Exporters
- Shine Muscat Grape: Gosan Agricultural Cooperative (Tel: +82-54-533-2525, Email: gosan yn@naver.com)
- Dried Fruit:Jeju Farm Plus (Tel: +82-64-753-8953, Email: mkt2@frunack.com)
- Sweet Potato Snack: Jonaegi Sweet Potato (Tel: +82-51-403-9996, Email: bm06000@naver.com)

# Additional Info: What is the Miraecle Project?
The Miraecle project was initiated last year jointly by MAFRA and aT with the goal of selecting and promoting ten types of agricultural products that have the potential to lead exports of Korean agricultural products in the future. The two agencies assist in pre-export preparations for the ten products by providing export information, conducting market tests, and helping find buyers.

◎ Dangjo Chili Pepper, Ginseng Chips, and Shelled Ginkgo Nut

Dangjo chili pepper, which is known to curb increases in the level of blood glucose, has been gaining a lot of attention as a functional vegetable among Japanese consumers after a series of promotional events and TV programs featured it. The events were organized in association with Uny Co., Ltd., a Japanese large distributor, in November last year. This year, MARFA and aT plan to support the pepper’s registration in Japan as a functional food.

Ginseng chips feature a crispy texture and a delicate scent of ginseng with a reduced bitter taste. They are designed as an easy way to have ginseng and therefore make a nutritious snack for children or adults or a great accompaniment to alcoholic drinks. The excellent quality of the chips has been recognized abroad when they received international certifications such as JGAP (Japan Good Agricultural Practices (JGAP)) and Global GAP.

Korean shelled and peeled ginkgo nuts are used in Japan as a main ingredient for various healthy dishes, bread, noodles, and as a topping. They are particularly popular among local consumers and buyers who are interested in health and beauty care. Thanks to an automatic peeling machine developed in Korea for the first time in the world, ginkgo nuts can now be exported in large quantities.

# Information on Exporters
- Dangjo Chili Pepper: Dream of Farmers Agricultural Cooperative (Tel: +82-63-221-0855, Email: sul4054@naver.com)
- Ginseng Chips:Nolmae Insam Agricultural Cooperative (Tel: +82-41-733-7981, Email: nminsam@hanmail.net)
-Shelled Ginkgo Nut: Ginkgo & Chestnut Farm Corporation (Tel: +82-31-796-8999, Email: kweapon@yahoo.co.kr)

◎ Freeze-Dried Baby Food, Green Tangerine Juice, Fermented Brown Rice, and Perfect Power Gel

Freeze-dried baby food is made with only natural ingredients, such as vegetables, beef, and white-flesh fish, and without any artificial additives. A freeze-drying method, which quickly freezes food at a temperature lower than –40°C, is applied to minimize the destruction of nutrients. The easy-to-cook baby food receives praise for enabling mothers to make nutritious meals for babies in a convenient way and keeping the original taste of the food ingredients.

Green tangerine juice is made by squeezing the juice from unripe green tangerines grown on Jeju Island. It is a healthy beverage aimed at young consumers who prefer a refreshing taste. The juice contains a greater amount of antioxidants than common tangerine juices. It was first exported to China in 2015. Now that the juice has obtained a halal certification from KMF (the Korea Muslim Federation), it is expected to enter the Muslim markets.

Fermented brown rice is a healthy functional food made with fermented brown rice without the addition of any white rice. A patented fermentation technology using yeast and lactic-acid bacteria is applied to facilitate its digestion and enrich it with an ample amount of proteins, vitamins, and amino acids. Fermented brown rice is an excellent health food for both children and adults.


Perfect Power Gel made with red ginseng extract is a sports supplement that can help boost the capacity for exercise and relieve muscular fatigue. The product is offered in small, easy-to-carry 40 ml pouches. It is recommended to consume the gel right before and after a workout. The product will be exported overseas this year, starting with the US.

# Information on Exporters
- Freeze-Dried Baby Food: Ivenet (Tel: 070-7609-7968, Email: eni541@ivenet.co.kr)
- Green Tangerine Juice: Juyoung International Corporation (Tel: +82-64-900-8980, Email: orangevert@daum.net)
- Fermented Brown Rice: Maisan Fermented Brown Rice (Tel: +82-63-714-2288, Email: mysan3370@naver.com)
- Perfect Power Gel: GH Natural (Tel: +82-2-2209-0740)

Four Types of Korean Food Expected to Expand Their Exports This Year

- The Strongest in Food Safety, Baby Food
Korean baby food is expected to continue attracting attention of foreign consumers this year. Most Korean baby food products exported overseas are made with natural ingredients and use very few or no artificial additives. They are fortified with nutrients, such as proteins and calcium, which are necessary for babies and children. They also have the advantages of sophisticated packaging design and thorough food safety management.

Korean baby food is particularly popular in China and Southeast Asia where local consumers are familiar with Korean food and Korean culture. These regions import a variety of Korean products: convenience baby food made with natural ingredients, infant snacks made with whole grains and vegetables, low-salt food such as seasoned seaweed and seaweed snacks, organic rice sticks, and many more.    

- Popular as a Healthy Ingredient, Mushroom

The mushroom is said to be the best ingredient because it is rich in nutritious elements—proteins, vitamins, and dietary fibers—that help the body's growth. Thanks to the delicate fragrance and chewiness, Korean mushrooms are a good match for any cuisine. Enoki mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms are the main items among Korean mushrooms exported to the world. King oyster mushroom is widely used in stir-fried, roasted, and boiled dishes. The high quality mushroom is mainly exported to European countries―such as Holland―by air freight. Enoki mushroom is best as an ingredient for stews and soups, and it is mostly exported to Vietnam and China where it is considered a premium-quality mushroom.

- The Best Fermented Food, Kimchi
Kimchi is a fermented food included in the world's top five healthy foods. Thanks to its unique spiciness and nutritional advantages, the number of its fans overseas is steadily increasing. Currently, kimchi is exported to about 80 countries. Among them, Japan is the biggest importer and the US ranks second. They are followed by China (Hong Kong) and Europe. After the resumption of Korean kimchi exports to mainland China in December 2015, kimchi products have been sold there at high-end department stores and major supermarkets. Furthermore, halal-certified kimchi is actively distributed in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Korea exports a variety of kimchi products: baechu-kimchi (napa cabbage kimchi), bite-sized mat-kimchi (sliced baechu-kimchi), crispy kkakdugi (radish kimchi cubes), mild baek-kimchi (white kimchi), refreshing cucumber kimchi, and so on. 

- Delicious Convenience Foods from Korea
More and more foreigners enjoy Hansik (Korean cuisine) on the wings of Hallyu (the Korean culture wave) as Korean dishes often appear in Korean TV series and variety shows. These days, Korean convenience food products are also actively exported overseas and their consumption abroad is expected to increase. Such products include instant bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef), instant japchae (glass noodles with sauteed vegetables), frozen jeon (Korean pancake), and frozen gimmari (deep-fried glass noodles wrapped in seaweed). It is anticipated that chilled noodles and frozen mandu (dumplings) will become especially popular with the Chinese.


Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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