RiTech Enters Instant Rice Market Armed with Korean Technology
People of the hectic modern world look for ready-to-eat foods that are easy to prepare and can be stored for a long period of time. Single people, in particular, prefer pre-cooked instant food but ordinary families also purchase instant food from time to time. One type of instant food whose consumption is increasing each year is instant rice. It is very convenient to cook: you can eat it after heating up in a microwave for 2 to 3 minutes or boiling in water for ten minutes. The consumption of instant rice is rapidly growing in Korea, Japan, China, and other Asian countries where rice is a staple. The world market for instant rice was equivalent to USD 0.1 billion last year, and is expected to reach USD 1.5 billion by 2025. In Korea, after instant rice was first introduced by one Korean company in 1996, many other producers released instant rice products and are selling them domestically and abroad.
RiTech Co., Ltd. plunged into the instant rice market last year with products developed using purely Korean technology.
Established in 2012, RiTech is a processed rice food company with headquarters in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province. It embarked on the journey of producing instant rice products by striving to improve the production process, which has so far depended on conventional technology introduced by Japan. The company’s goal is to make instant rice products that are more suitable to the taste of the Koreans. RiTech laid the groundwork for this endeavor in 2014 by obtaining the right for exclusive use of patented technology titled “Apparatus and Method of Producing Completely Cooked Instant Rice in Sterilized Condition.” The business started in earnest in 2015, after RiTech was certified as a venture company and secured technological investment of about USD 6 million.
Mr. Shin Dong-hoon, CEO of RiTech, said, “Thanks to the independent technology development and patent registration, we can set up our plants completely differently from how it is required for the manufacturing method introduced by Japan.” Using a system reflecting the operation principle of a Korean pressure cooker, the rice has received favorable responses from domestic and foreign consumers who say that it is more delicious than the rice produced by Japanese technology.
Types of Products Under the Brand Name PaPaBab
RiTech produces and distributes several processed rice products made with Korean rice and using Korean technology. Its main items include instant rice, functional rice, deopbab (cooked rice with toppings), and porridge. The flagship product, instant rice, is an upgraded version of existing instant products in terms of quality and manufacturing technology and, while the rest of the world depends on the Japanese plant technology, this is the first case of using local technology for such products. Currently, the company’s instant rice comes in six types: white rice, instant black rice, and brown rice (embryo bud rice), each of which is available in both the general and organic versions. The products are distributed directly under the brand name PaPaBab and as private brand (PB) products of consumer cooperatives under the brand name Gatjieunbab (which stands for “freshly cooked rice”).
The novelty of delicious and highly nutritious black and brown rice in other countries have caused foreign buyers to display great interest particularly in the instant black rice and brown rice varieties. At the moment, RiTech is focusing on China as its target market. To promote its products there, the company joined efforts with YL Group, China’s largest entertainment company, and held a PaPaBab event in February. In the following month, RiTech presented its products as gifts to Chinese fans who came to a concert of the idol group iKON held in the Seoul Olympic Gymnastics Arena. In April, the company went to Beijing to participate in a processed rice product exhibition organized to mark the commencement of sales of Korean rice to China. All these efforts are part of its marketing strategy designed to prepare for entry into the Chinese market.
Mr. Shin said, “China is geographically close to Korea and has a similar food culture so Chinese companies are showing a growing interest in instant rice produced using the domestic technology.” He revealed his plan to use the localization of instant rice products as a marketing strategy to expand exports: “RiTech will set up a branch in China and analyze the local culture and consumer preferences to make the products more suitable to the Chinese.”
Application of the Pressure Rice Cooker Operation Principle to Instant Rice
Generally speaking, the instant rice making technology of RiTech is different from the existing Japanese technique in two ways. First, it does not need an expensive aseptic room that is required by the Japanese plant installation standards. Thus, the company can save at least USD 10 million on plant technology. In place of the aseptic room, RiTech applies a process in which rice products are sterilized at a high temperature of 120°C for 2 minutes and 40 seconds while oxygen is being completely cut, and then steamed for 20 seconds (heated up over high heat and then boiled over low heat). Due to the reduction in installation costs and the new technology, RiTech can supply its products to consumers at reasonable prices.
Secondly, to produce high-quality products, RiTech applies a hermetic sealing (pressurizing) method and does not use any additives. The rice cooked by this so-called pressure cooker principle is receiving very favorable evaluations. Unlike other companies which use a rice-bran preservative in instant rice products, RiTech makes its products only with rice and water mixing them at a ratio of five to five. What’s more, the RiTech instant rice does not need to be heated up because it is produced in accordance with the pressure cooker principle using the steaming technique, so it gives an excellent mouthfeel even if eaten cold.
Mr. Shin said, “We plan to export both our products and our plants to increase the market share in China where more than 60 percent of the population live on rice as the main staple. We are making thorough preparation for successful entry, from market research to selection of local partners.”
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Home Page : www.ritech.co.kr