What do kimchi, a representative Korean fermented food, and curry, a classic food representing the food culture of India, have in common? Both of them are the wholesome foods selected by world-renowned media such as Time and Health. Available in stores in over seventy countries, kimchi is a flagship product leading rising exports of Korean foods. Curry, with its unique flavor, has long been a major player on the global food stage. True Nature Village, a small-sized agricultural cooperative located in Yeongyang in North Gyeongsang Province, decided to bring the two types of food together releasing Curry Kimchi. The combination has been so successful that the cooperative obtained a patent for it and is now getting ready to knock on the doors of overseas markets.
Curry Kimchi Designed for Children and Adult Consumers Overseas
Armed with a Patent, Gears Up For Export
Curry Kimchi is the brainchild of An Gil-su, CEO of True Nature Village, who aspires to make kimchi more appealing to children and foreigners. He thought it was a shame that some people do not eat kimchi due to its spiciness and strong smell. Many children and foreigners, in particular, do not want to try it, despite the worldwide recognition of kimchi’s excellence as a healthy food. Looking for an ingredient that can be used with kimchi to make it more appealing, An noticed that many Koreans often eat curry-seasoned rice with kimchi. This observation led him to start developing Curry Kimchi in 2008.
An explains how the product was born, saying, “Curry is a healthy ingredient that can be enjoyed by anyone, including foreigners, regardless of age and gender and it is also well-suited to making kimchi. Last year, I created a salad-type curry kimchi, based on the results of tasting events for children and foreigners." Curry Kimchi received a patent from the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) last October. According to An, True Nature Village plans to start exporting the product to Hong Kong, Japan, and other foreign markets from the latter half of this year. In March, the cooperative will begin work on the packaging design.
Great as an Appetizer or Side Dish
Curry Kimchi is made with a curry powder-based stock and ten different vegetables including radish, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, onion, and pear. It features the distinct scent and taste of curry and has a crispy texture. The aftertaste is not spicy but rather sweet due to the addition of sweet pear juice. Ju In-ok, a director of True Nature Village, recommends Curry Kimchi as an appetite stimulating appetizer or a side dish to rice, noodles, or meat dishes.
Ju says, “Although we target foreigners, we do not use foreign ingredients, except curry powder. All of the ten vegetables are high quality, grown and harvested in North Gyeongsang Province. No artificial flavors are used because the health of consumers is our top priority.”
The cooperative pays particular attention to the quality of its products and sanitary control. The production factory is equipped with air showers and devices blocking the inflow of foreign substances. It possesses the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and the international quality management system ISO22000 certifications.
Receiving Favorable Responses from Buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore
In addition to Curry Kimchi, True Nature Village produces a variety of other kimchi products: pogi-kimchi (whole napa cabbage kimchi), white kimchi, chonggak-kimchi (whole young radish kimchi), kkakdugi (diced radish kimchi), and others. They use high quality cabbage grown in highlands and chili pepper produced in the Yeongyang area. The products are supplied to schools, hospitals, and the military, and are also sold through the online shopping site operated by the cooperative. Curry Kimchi was awarded the second place at the Korean Kimchi Contest 2015 and received the minister prize from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) for its good ingredients and refreshing taste achieved without spiciness or saltiness.
An says, “Curry Kimchi is getting positive reviews for its taste and quality in the domestic market, and we are eager to promote this product to consumers in foreign countries. True Nature Village organized a Curry Kimchi tasting event for buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore last year and received rave responses.” The cooperative plans to produce and export its products in small packages, 80g and 150g, so that consumers abroad can try various types of kimchi along with Curry Kimchi.
# Additional Info: Bitkalchan Yeongyang Kimchi-Making Festival Where You Can Make and Try Various Kinds of Kimchi
Since 2014, True Nature Village has been hosting the Bitkalchan Yeongyang Kimchi-Making Festival every November, during the kimchi making season, in cooperation with Yeongyang County Office. The event is part of the cooperative’s efforts to promote its kimchi made with local specialties such as red pepper powder and highland-grown napa cabbage. Visitors can take part in different programs, including kimchi-making and tasting, and purchase various kimchi products. The festival is drawing much attention as a major seasonal event in Yeongyang, and a growing number of foreign tourists from the US, China, Vietnam, and other countries participate in it side by side with local residents.
True Nature Village
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