A Sweet Rendezvous of Healthy Korean Agriproducts & Chocolate
Chocolate with Sweet, Strong Taste and Crunchy Texture, “Crunch Punch”
What is a must-buy item for foreigners who visit Korea? Korean cosmetic products using oriental herbs have achieved a dominant position in sales. But there are also other popular products such as healthy foods and alcoholic beverages. Chocolate, with fillings of Korean fresh foods such as red ginseng and satsuma, also sells well as a souvenir or gift from a trip to Korea. This is thanks to the product’s uniqueness and competitive price.
Special Chocolate with K-Foods Such as Red Ginseng, Satsuma, and Yuja
Established in Geumsan County of South Chungcheong Province in 1998, Song Lim Confectionery specializes in producing chocolate that contains various Korean agriproducts (such as red ginseng, satsuma, yuja, hallabong, Korean wild grapes, and dried persimmon). They also make chocolate with strawberry, grapes, cheese, pomegranate, and yogurt. The company supplies most of its products through OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreements to other Korean food companies. The majority of fruit chocolate products that you see on the stands of Korean duty free shops are produced by Song Lim Confectionery.
The company is also making chocolate under its own brand, and the main item is called “Crunch Punch.” It is a chocolate bar that uses artificial rice (made of rice, corn powder, and flour) instead of the corn flakes common in chocolate bars.
The artificial rice gives the product not only a very crunchy texture but also a soft taste. The key is in the unique cooking method. It is not fried but puffed as a result of air friction with the salt in a kiln at a high pressure and temperature. Thanks to this method, the taste and nutrition of the ingredients are maintained while the snack stays low in calories.
Another advantage of the product is that it leaves the strong yet pleasant taste of soft chocolate in the mouth. Ms. Tracy Son, general manager of Song Lim Confectionery, explains, “We do not use any couverture chocolate but make it by ourselves with cream cheese, cocoa butter, powdered cacao, and other ingredients. In Korea, there are only two or three companies that are able to carry out the entire production process from inputting the raw ingredients to churning out the completed product. At a buyer’s request, we can not only customize the packaging but also develop a product with the taste that suits the preferences of local consumers.”
Crunch Punch comes in twelve varieties: chocolate, white chocolate, red ginseng, yuja, satsuma, strawberry, hallabong, grape, pomegranate, cheese, yogurt, and coffee. Among them, the red ginseng, yuja, satsuma, strawberry, and hallabong bars are made with the juice or powder of fruits produced in Korea.
In addition to the excellent production technology, Song Lim Confectionery uses automated equipment that ensures the food safety. The company obtained the HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) certification in 2008.
Actively Pioneering Overseas Markets Such as Taiwan and Hong Kong
Song Lim Confectionery started exporting its Crunch Punch to the global market in 2001. As the company’s OEM products sold in many duty free shops in Korea received positive responses from foreigners, the awareness of Song Lim Confectionery went up and helped launch the export business.
Crunch Punch is actively shipped to five markets: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, mainland China, and the Philippines.
The bestsellers are the red ginseng, satsuma, and yuja flavors. Crunch Punch has received a particularly positive response in Taipei, where it was introduced in the local news. The product is a steady seller in Hong Kong’s Sogo Department Store, which also sells the chocolate of world famous brands such as Godiva. Ms. Son said, “According to many foreign buyers, the biggest advantages of Crunch Punch are the variety of types, reasonable price, and that the taste is as good as that of famous chocolate brands. Our export volume is increasing every year through the word of mouth of foreign consumers who have tried our Crunch Punch.”
Song Lim Confectionery is planning to release several new products that can captivate the tastes of modern people. These include chocolate tarte and cookie. Ms. Son reveals, “We are developing new systems and technologies such as an electric deep-fryer to produce potato chips. Our ambition is to become a major confectionery company producing a variety of confectionery goods with delicious Korean fresh products.”
A New Concept of Squeeze Chocolate, “Squeeze Choco”
To prepare for the production of diverse chocolate confectionery items such as bread and cookies, Song Lim Confectionery invites in chocolate experts every week and learns from them about the production technology. These efforts have led to the recent launch of a new product, Squeeze Choco. Available in three flavors―chocolate, banana, and hallabong―it is a chocolate cream neatly packed in a stick-shaped pouch. The packaging makes it easy to carry and squeeze and suck the chocolate cream when you want some.
Inquiries Song Lim Confectionery