Is it possible to make the representative Korean food, kimchi, at home in Hong Kong? How does one cook tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cake) in Vietnam, without good cooking skills? Have you ever been in these situations before? If you have asked yourself questions like these, try the kimchi and tteokbokki sauces of BongChu Food System, which are exported overseas.
Both products come in powder form, so anyone can use them easily. To turn 200g of cabbage into kimchi, you need only 30g of the kimchi sauce. It can also be used for other dishes such as cucumber or bean sprout salad. Tteokbokki, a popular Korean street snack, can also be cooked at home with 170g of rice cake and 30g of the tteokbokki sauce. It is also possible to add rice noodles, fish cake, and boiled egg according to your preferences. Last year, Bongchu Food System also launched an instant tteokbokki product, Cup Topokki, for foreign consumers who cannot find rice cake in their grocery stores. Offered in a cup, it can be turned into delicious tteokbokki by microwaving its contents, rice cake and sauce, along with hot water for 2–2 ½ minutes.
A unique feature of these products is that they can be stored at room temperature for a long time, so there is no change in their quality during the distribution process. Consequently, they have good export potential. Both products are supplied under the brand name “HAN-Q” which stands for “the convenience of cooking at once.”
Jang Jun-soo, CEO of BongChu Food System, explains, "We have developed these sauces for consumers to enjoy popular Korean dishes, kimchi and stir-fried rice cake, anywhere and anytime in a simple way. Even those who unfamiliar with Korean food can make kimchi and tteokbokki using our sauces.”
Powdered Sauce Mixes Gain Popularity in Hong Kong and Vietnam
The kimchi and tteokbokki sauces as well as Cup Topokki are produced by OKI Restaurant System, a subsidiary of BongChu Food System. Dividing the responsibilities—OKI is the producer and BongChu is in charge of sales—lets each part of the company concentrate on accumulating expertise in its own field.
The tteokbokki sauce and kimchi sauce are the first items launched under the HAN-Q brand and a result of extensive R&D efforts to create products different from existing ones in the market. The powder type was selected with overseas markets in mind as an advantage over the liquid type in distribution and storage. Reliability of the products have been proven with the acquisition of HACCP certification and ISO9001: 2008 quality management system certification for the factory’s facilities. In addition, the company obtained halal certification for both sauces to appeal to the newly emerging markets of the Muslim world.
HAN-Q products started to enter overseas markets after participating in the Hong Kong Food Fair in 2015. Currently, they are exported to China, Spain, Vietnam, Malaysia, and other countries, and their export volume is steadily increasing. In less than three years of the products’ advance abroad, they have achieved remarkable recognition with foreign consumers, especially in Southeast Asia where the Korean Wave (popularity of Korean pop culture) is at its peak.
BongChu Food System regularly participates in overseas expositions to gauge the buyer and consumer interest and enhance the sauces’ capacity to meet the needs of the market. It has gained trust of many buyers by boldly changing the product packaging to reflect their demands. Taste, quality, price are important elements of its marketing strategy, but the key one is communication.
Jang says, “Rather than simply supplying finished products, the sales and R&D teams are doing their best to see the products from the consumer perspective by participating in overseas expos, conducting market surveys, and communicating with buyers.”
Plans to Expand Exports through Localization of Products’ Taste and Scent
BongChu Food System started as a franchise enterprise in 2000, opening BongChu Jjim Dak restaurants which serve Andong-style braised spicy chicken. Currently it has over 170 franchisees in Korea alone. With stores in mainland China, Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, it has become a leader in promoting Korean cuisine overseas.
Having launched its HAN-Q sauces in foreign markets as well, BongChu Food System plans to focus on developing the products that match local characteristics rather than sharp-tasting ones through continuous R&D and market testing. The same products offered to different markets will have slightly different, localized scents and flavors.
Jang says, “In addition to tteokbokki and kimchi sauces, we are making efforts to develop various new products such as cupped rice noodles and nurungji-tang (scorched rice soup) to cultivate HAN-Q into a brand introducing Korean food worldwide. We will extend our markets to Europe and halal markets.”
BongChu Food System Co., Ltd.
Tel +82-2-539-6981 (Director Lee Jung-ah, +82-10-8734-3810)
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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