Barley is known as a natural tonic carrying a large quantity of dietary fiber and helpful in stabilizing blood sugar. Not so long ago, barley was a common crop in Korea, consumed as a staple from the spring to the harvest of rice in the fall. Koreans also used to brew it as a healthy tea having various efficacies. Armed with this ubiquitous barley, one Korean businessman is trying to break into foreign markets. The hero’s name is Kim Jae-ju, CEO of the agricultural company Chungmec Co., Ltd.
Crazy about Barley, Kim Jae-ju Develops a Variety of Barley Products
Kim says, “I did not see any interest in barley among farmers, so I decided to start cultivating it myself. Many people around me thought I lost my mind when they heard I chose to focus on barley.” Kim, however, thought barley had good potential for commercialization and developing new products with diverse functions. He continues, “When I started growing barley in 2005, colored food was in full swing, and the Rural Development Administration created barley varieties which came in different colors. I thought that Korean barley would have a competitive edge because no other country offers colorful barley.”
Kim founded Chungmec Co., Ltd. and with the government support, he developed the technology to make black barley products and barley cookies with high levels of dietary fiber as well as low-calorie functional food products with colored barley and low-calorie barley porridge with high levels of dietary fiber.
Making Various Products Including Multi-Colored Barley, Coffee, and Porridge
Chungmec’s flagship products are 3 Barley and Five Color Barley. They use barley varieties of different colors. 3 Barley is made with black, purple, and green barley, while Five Color Barley includes two additional types, yellow and white barley. The company also offers monochrome products of black, purple, and yellow barley, each of which has different characteristics. Black barley contains more dietary fiber and minerals than ordinary barley and is softer since its hull is thinner. Purple barley contains a lot of beta-glucan, which is said to be effective in preventing diabetes and colon cancer. Unlike other varieties, it also boasts about 65㎍ of anthocyanin per gram. With its intact germinal disc, green barley is highly nutritious. Containing vitamins B1, B2, and B3, iron and calcium, it keeps the stomach warm and promotes diuretic action. Yellow barley contains 14.6% more dietary fiber than ordinary barley.
In addition, Chungmec offers several processed products including Dangjuk and K-Coffee. Dangjuk was designed as a nutritious meal with a homely flavor. Made with black barley, oat, brown rice, and tree ear, it is a porridge product you can cook by simply adding warm water.
K-Coffee is a favorite of coffee lovers. With it, they can kill two birds with one stone: consume the dietary fiber of barley while drinking coffee. It is especially good for people who have trouble sleeping if they have coffee.
Targeting the Global Market with Diverse Products
Chungmec is pioneering the Chinese, American, and other overseas markets. It listens carefully to the feedback it receives from overseas consumers. For example, Chungmec exported US$60,000 worth of barley to the US last year and is now working on issues that arose during the transportation stage.
Kim said, “Our goal in the US is to enter Costco stores. Our colorful barley is a truly unique product with no rivals. If it enters Costco, it will sell at least 2,000 tons every year.”
Chungmec is knocking on the door of the Chinese market with its K-Coffee and Dangjuk. In Kim’s opinion, the coffee drinking culture is burgeoning in China. He says, “I participated in FHC China for three years in a row to promote K-Coffee.” While introducing Dangjuk, Kim emphasizes, “The effectiveness of this product against diabetes has been proven through animal testing.” He adds, “There is considerable interest in Chungmec in China, and we will do our best to raise awareness about advantages of our products among Chinese consumers.”
Chungmec Co., Ltd.
·Tel: +82-63-561-0014, +82-10-6390-0303 (Kim Jae-ju, CEO)
Lee Hyun Woo email@example.com
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