Yuja tea is made with bright-yellow yuja (citrus fruit in the family of rutaceae) and, thanks to the abundance of vitamin C in the fruit, is known to be effective in preventing colds and relieving fatigue. Korea Natural Food, a yuja tea exporter, was in the spotlight recently when it signed a contract with Starbucks Coffee China. The company is going to supply to China yuja tea which, unlike other yuja products on the market, is made by grinding the pulp of the fruit. The finely ground yuja liquid is versatile as an ingredient that can be used to make not only tea but a variety of other beverages.
Lee Dong-hee, a vice president of Korea Natural Food, said that his company received the proposal last October from WILD, a company responsible for providing Starbucks Coffee China with products and ingredients. After passing the field inspection, the first two tons of Korea Natural Food’s ground yuja tea were shipped to the country in April this year. Lee explained that the supply of the product as a beverage ingredient to Starbucks stores of Beijing and other Chinese cities started in June and is expected to reach 300 tons a year. He added, “A variety of new products made with the yuja tea––yuja latte, yuja yogurt, yuja Americano, and so on––that can captivate the taste buds of young Chinese consumers will be introduced to consumers in Starbucks stores of China.”
Accelerating the Advance to the Chinese Market with Daraewang Brand
Korea Natural Food is also supplying assorted teas in liquid form, including yuja tea, to RT Mart and other large supermarkets in major Chinese cities—Shanghai, Beijing, Qingdao, and Wuhan. From last year, the company has been putting much effort to accelerate advance further into the Chinese market with its independent brand, Daraewang.
Lee said, “Korea Natural Food debuted in China in 2005 and now its healthy tea products, such as honey yuja tea and honey ginger tea, are sold in some 5,000 large supermarkets. We are making unremitting efforts to develop new products by continuously conducting market research and holding brainstorming sessions with buyers."
Entering Costco Stores Thanks to the Products’ High Quality and Safety
Korea Natural Food exports its tea products to 16 markets including the US, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. Boosted by the entry into the Costco stores in Taiwan in the early 2000s, its products are now sold in Costco in the US and the Philippines, which is a big deal because Costco is notorious for its strict requirements before a product can reach the shelves of its stores.
The vice president emphasized, “Korea Natural Food spares no effort to conduct the rigid quality and hygiene controls in order to meet the expectations of consumers and buyers overseas.” He added, "Our first priority is to further improve the products’ quality, and such hard work helped us to obtain renowned international certifications such as ISO14001, ISO9001, and SQF2000 for the food quality and safety."
Among various healthy teas of Korea Natural Food, the honey yuja tea is the most popular among foreign consumers. It sells well in mainland China and Taiwan as well as in the US. The pungent ginger tea is also receiving favorable responses from the Southeast Asian markets, and the sweet honey aloe tea enjoys continued demand in the US and Australia. Recently, exports of honey jujube tea and honey lemon tea are on the rise. In addition, other new, unique products such as Blueberry Coco Liquid Tea (which is made with blueberry and coconut jelly) and Lemon Coco (made with lemon and coconut jelly) are also drawing much attention from overseas buyers.
Promoting New Products and Adding More Fuel to Pioneer Markets in Japan, Southeast Asia
Korea Natural Food plans to expand its exports by producing customized liquid teas to meet diverse preferences of overseas consumers. It will introduce honey aronia liquid tea, which is made with a berry known as a great antioxidant, to Japan where the consumption of yuja tea has been declining. The company has also enhanced the taste and scent of the existing ginger tea product, targeting Southeast Asian markets. To consumers in the halal region including Malaysia and Indonesia, Korea Natural Foods will promote the honey yuja tea for which it obtained a halal certification.
* Additional Info I: Choose According to Your Taste from Various Healthy Liquid Teas of Korea Natural Food
- Honey Yuja Tea: Yuja is known to be effective in preventing colds and relieving fatigue. It can be a perfect choice for consumers who are fond of a sweet-and-sour taste.
- Honey Ginger Tea: Ginger is a wholesome ingredient improving immunity. The pungent scent of ginger attracts many foreign consumers.
- Honey Jujube Tea: Jujube is another healthy ingredient which is believed to slow down skin aging and improve symptoms of insomnia. It is particularly good to have the tea one or two hours before going to bed.
- Honey Aloe Tea: Aloe is a succulent plant whose pulp is good for skin care and digestive function. Its sweet taste is particularly popular among young female consumers.
- Honey Aronia Tea: Aronia is an emerging berry abundant in anthocyanins which are known to be beneficial for eyes. It is good as a healthy tea for students and office workers.
* Additional Info II: How to Fully Enjoy Honey Yuja Tea
The honey yuja tea of Korea Natural Food can be enjoyed as both warm and cold beverage. It can be also made into a cool yuja-ade by adding it to cold carbonated water and as a sweet and sour yuja latte if you add it to steamed milk. Moreover, you can transform the tea into a wonderful yuja yogurt by adding it to plain yogurt and topping the dessert with nuts and cereal.
*Korea Natural Food Co., Ltd.
Tel: +82-63-211-4021 (Vice President, Lee Dong-hee)
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