In Laos, an emerging economy of Southeast Asia, an increasing number of local people are interested in Korean agriproducts due to the popularity of Hallyu (the Korean culture wave). Recently, the YAFF (Young-Agri-Food Fellowship) team of Jeju Island went to Laos to hold promotions of Korean food. Let us take a look at consumers’ response to Korean agriproducts through an interview with Lee Min-ji, the leader of YAFF Jeju.
What inspired you to promote Korean agriproducts in Laos?
After watching the news that Southeast Asia is an attractive new export market for Korean food, my team members and I thought that visiting the country to promote Korean agriproducts there would be a good way to help out. Also, getting to know exchange students from Laos National University who study at Jeju University gave us the idea of a promotional event for young students in Laos.
What kind of promotional activities did you perform?
With support of Laos National University, we prepared a Korean food promotion event in a campus cafeteria on September 1. We introduced consumers in their teens and twenties to Dried Jeju Satsuma Chips, Jeju Satsuma Juice, kimchi fried rice, and yakgwa (a traditional Korean snack) and hosted a tasting event. We made a poster in Laotian for local consumers to understand Korean food better and posted our promotional event schedule on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, ahead of the visit.
What was the response of the young Laotians to your activities?
There were more participants than we expected. We were surprised that many students wrote some words in Korean in their reviews of the events. Among the products we promoted, kimchi fried rice and Dried Jeju Satsuma Chips received the best response. Kimchi fried rice turned out to be a perfect dish for Laos consumers who love spicy food. The chips received positive reviews for the combination of sour and sweet flavors as well as the crispy texture. As a result of this event, many students got to know about Jeju Satsuma, and some students became interested in Jeju Island. Also, Nivong Sipaseuth, a director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Department of the Agricultural Land Management of Laos, visited the cafeteria, participated in the event, had a meal, and showed a positive response to kimchi and other Korean foods.
In your opinion, what kind of approach to overseas consumers will be effective?
I think there can be diverse ways to promote Korean food and agriproducts so that foreigners become more familiar with them. One way is to participate in major food exhibitions overseas. In the long term, it is important to understand the tastes of young overseas consumers who are interested in unique foods and catch the consumption trends. I personally believe we should organize Korean food promotional events aimed at young people overseas more frequently.
About YAFF Jeju Team
The YAFF Jeju team that successfully carried out promotional events for Korean food in Laos is made up of three members: Lee Min-ji, Kim Young-jin, and Woo Da-som. They all attend Jeju University and are very interested in promoting Korean agriproducts abroad. They aspire to take a leading role in the development of Korean agricultural and food industry in the future.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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