A sweet potato product that can be eaten with a spoon is trying out its competitiveness in the international market. It is convenient to eat, easy to digest, and rich in fiber. It is already receiving favorable reviews from consumers in Southeast Asia as a nutritious food helping to prevent constipation in children.
Positive Response to the Test Sale in a Singaporean Department Store Leads to New Orders
Kim Ki-soo, the founder and President of The Goeun Co., Ltd., started growing sweet potatoes in 2006. His family returned to their hometown in Gunsan of North Jeolla Province and were looking for a farm product that is relatively easy to manage and does not require much labor. Kim knew that sweet potatoes from Gunsan are known for their excellent taste and nutrition, and he dreamed of making a successful business by processing the potatoes and commercializing the product.
Several years later, in 2013, Kim invested KRW 100 million (approx. US$ 100,000) to establish The Goeun and expand the cultivation area to 330,000 m2. The following year, he launched Sweetmee, a new-concept sweet potato product, processing a 100 tons of sweet potatoes, and raked in KRW 36 million in profits that same year. The product quickly became popular, its sales reaching KRW 400 million in 2017. Furthermore, 1 ton of Sweetmee was exported to a department store in Singapore last year and received so many positive reviews that The Goeun is busy filling new orders.
Kim said, “I created Sweetmee trying to make an easy-to-digest product that contains a lot of fiber, does not stick to teeth, and can be eaten in a convenient way. I thought that if I grind sweet potatoes so that consumers can eat it with a spoon, the product will attract attention not only in Korea but also overseas.”
The Top Priority, Safety Secured with Hygienic Top-Notch Processing Facilities
The Goeun purchases sweet potatoes from farmers, processes them, and supplies the final product to individual consumers and department stores. To ensure mutual understanding and cooperation with the farmers, Kim holds regular meetings, discussions, and technology exchanges with them. The potato sales are an important source of revenue to the farmers.
Sweet potatoes for Sweetmee are carefully selected, cleaned, and baked on a stone plate for two hours. They are then manually peeled, finely ground, and packaged in sterilized containers. The product is offered in 100g and 90 g packages. No other ingredients or additives are used but the sweet potato.
To meet the highest standards of food safety and sanitation, The Goeun has equipped the 132m2 processing facility with cutting-edge washers, stone-plate ovens, and grinding and packaging equipment. Therefore, Sweetmee is not only sweet and delicious but also safe and 100% domestically produced. The fact that this high-end product contains no chemical additives is a major point of attraction for overseas consumers.
Improving the Image of Sweet Potato Products with Food Safety and Hygiene
Sweetmee is supplied to department stores and Jeonju Hanok Village shops through OEM agreements. The Goeun originally did not plan to sell to department stores, but a purchasing manager of Galleria Department Store located at Apgujeong-dong, Seoul, personally visited the company, after learning about its products through word of mouth, and offered a contract.
Kim said with pride, “To expand our exports to Singapore and other markets in Southeast Asia, we have exhibited Sweetmee at international fairs and expos, and it never fails to receive positive evaluations from buyers for its luxurious image and excellent taste. We get many offers from China, Japan, the US, and countries of Europe.”
The Goeun Co., Ltd.
·Tel : +82-63-841-9803
·Fax : +82-63-842-9803
Lee Young Ju firstname.lastname@example.org
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