Here is a quiz for you. Check whether the following statement is true or false: Tropical fruit guava is cultivated in Korea which has a temperate climate.
As the Korean annual average temperature rises due to global warming, southern regions of Korea have started cultivating tropical fruits such as guava. Still, unlike in Central and South America and Southeast Asia where guava naturally grows outdoors, the Korean guava is cultivated in vinyl greenhouses. One such producer is Guava Land Co. They grow guava and produce various processed foods with it.
Small but Strong
Located in Uiryeong County, South Gyeongsang Province, Guava Land Co. is a small family farm. There are four members: Lim Heung-sup, his wife, son (CEO of Guava Land Co., Lim Tae-hun), and daughter-in-law. Despite such a small size, the farm is well-known in the Korean guava industry. Lim Heung-sup says, “When I ran a Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits franchise location, I thought that fast food cannot be healthy because it uses a lot of fat and salt. In 1998, I decided to leave the city to start cultivating healthy ingredients and making food with them.”
Now, Guava Land Co. has become the largest guava farm in Korea, growing the fruit on the territory of 10,000㎡.
Organic Farming as a Differentiation Strategy to Attract Foreign Buyers
Guava Land Co. started exports in 2007 when Lim’s son, Lim Tae-hun (now the CEO of Guava Land Co.,) joined. He says, “I believed we wouldn’t succeed by just cultivating guava, so I came up with the idea of developing guava processed foods such as guava tea and powder and offering them to overseas markets.”
A big challenge they faced, however, is the tough competition from Central and South America and ASEAN countries, which can supply guava products at very competitive prices. As a result, Lim decided to focus on quality. Promoting its products as made with premium ingredients, Guava Land Co. was able to enter foreign markets. Lim explains, “Overseas, guava is mostly grown outdoors. In contrast, our guava is cultivated in an environment-friendly way in vinyl greenhouses. This helped us obtain certifications for pesticide-free produce. It is not easy to find pesticide-free and organic guava in other places around the world.”
Variety of Products, Rice Noodles Being Most Popular
Guava Land Co. offers various types of processed guava: Guava Pills, Guava Powder, Guava Fruit Tea, Guava Triangle Tea Bags, Guava Kettle Tea Bags, Guava Dry Leaf Tea, etc. The most popular among them is Guava Rice Noodles. These instant noodles are made with Korean rice and guava leaf powder. The powder gives the noodles a unique chewy texture. Lim said, “At first, foreign buyers were simply attracted by the unusual idea of rice noodles containing guava powder. However, once they tasted the noodles, they marveled at the fact that the noodles retained exceptional chewiness for a long time.”
Thanks to this characteristic, the product has been able to break into the US and Japanese markets. Last February, Guava Land Co. signed an export contract with Sam’s F&B, an American company known for its wide network with Chinese supermarkets in the US. Under the contract, Guava Land Co. ships 20,000 units of Guava Rice Noodles to the US every week.
The company also does its best to develop new products such as beverages and rice snacks for export. To advance its overseas business further, Guava Land Co. recently purchased another plot of land and is building a factory on it. Lim says, “Currently, our manufacturing process is in the form of a cottage industry. If we aim at the global market, we need to build modern automated systems and arm ourselves with top-notch processing facilities.”
Guava Land Co.
Tel +82-55-243-8824, +82-10-2592-9585
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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