Onion and garlic are receiving great attention worldwide for their benefits to health, and Korea’s exports of functional food containing them as ingredients are expanding. Upobio-Food Co., Ltd. has grown to a mid-sized company by increasing its overseas sales of noodles and extracts made with onion and garlic. It cultivates, processes, and exports eco-friendly agricultural products that are beneficial to the human body.
Commercialization of Healthy Functional Foods Made with Onion and Garlic
Upobio-Food uses onion and garlic, local specialties of Changnyeong in North Gyeongsang Province, to manufacture health supplements, onion and garlic extracts. Furthermore, the company has developed with these ingredients four types of noodles—onion noodles, black onion noodles, whole wheat noodles, and traditional noodles—and is exporting them to other countries.
The CEO of Upobio-Food, Kim Jun-hyung, said, “We’ve put much effort and perseverance into creating noodles with a variety of healthy qualities because we want to export only eco-friendly, healthy foods by processing onion and garlic which are very good for the body. We are proud of making products that both benefit the consumer and increase farmers’ incomes.”
Last July, the safety of Upobio-Food’s products was confirmed with FDA approval. They are now growing in popularity as functional and safe at the same time. The products have gone viral at home and abroad, leading to an increase in export volume to the US, China, and Australia. The company is receiving a large number of repeat-orders.
Approved by the FDA as an Eco-Friendly Functional Food
Upobio-Food purchases onion and garlic through contracts with neighboring farms and thoroughly checks them for safety before processing. Its unique, patented manufacturing method ensures that the products taste great and are highly nutritious. It focuses its exporting business on four types of noodles, which have strong merits for marketing in terms of functionality, eco-friendliness, and nutrition.
Other products include Onion Tree and Hongsango. Onion Tree is a pure onion extract using firm onions. It is a functional product effective in cleaning blood vessels. Hongsango contains concentrated red garlic extract and red wine and is aimed for adolescents and middle-aged consumers.
Upobio-Food is making a contribution to stabilizing the incomes of farmers in the area. It purchases vegetables at prices 10 to 20% higher than market price. It also helps the local economy by hiring residents to process the ingredients and pack and transport the products.
Expansion of Exports in the US and China
Kim said, “Our products have earned popularity among Korean consumers and are now receiving favorable feedback from American and Chinese consumers who are looking for health foods.” He added, “Since we made the first shipment to the US in 2013, the re-purchasing rate of our products by American consumers has been steadily growing and we were able to advance to the Chinese and Australian markets.”
The increase in export volume of Upobio-Food’s products has been proportionate to their recognition in overseas markets. It rose from US$20,000 in 2015 to US$ 50,000 in 2016, and is expected to reach US$ 70 million this year. The upward trend is likely to continue as the company’s products are attracting increased attention from visitors of food expos in Thailand, China, Japan, and the US.
Kim shared his vision, saying, “With healthy living being such an important issue, an increasing number of consumers are and will become more interested in functional products made with onion and garlic. We will do our best to grow into a global company by diversifying our products and pursuing a more aggressive marketing strategy.”
Upobio-Food Co., Ltd.
Lee Young Ju firstname.lastname@example.org
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