A Brand of Korean Seasoning Sauces, Ajumma Republic, Is in the Spotlight in Foreign Markets
Maeil Foods Develops the Seasoning Sauces Designed for Korean Dishes Entered the Global Market
Traditional Korean sauces―such as gochujang (red pepper paste) and doenjang (soybean paste)―are the basis of Korean cuisine. They are receiving recognition abroad for their excellence as fermented foods. And, thanks to Hallyu (Korean culture wave), the number of foreign people interested in traditional Korean sauces is steadily increasing. The Korean sauce producer Maeil Foods recently developed seasoning sauces for Korean dishes that appeal to the tastes of foreign consumers. It is also making efforts to enter the foreign markets such as China.
70 Years of Knowhow in Making Sauces
Established in 1945 in Suncheon City of South Jeolla Province, Maeil Foods is a Korean sauce producer with 70 years of tradition. Behind such a long history are the incessant efforts to create sauces that meet consumers’ demands.
Maeil Foods succeeded in developing the natural condiment, Ajimi, that can be a substitute for MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is known to enrich the flavor of dishes but is potentially harmful to the body. The company also developed a food material that reduces the sodium contents in sauces. Maeil Foods operates a sauce technology research institute and is evaluated highly for its contribution to the advance of Korean sauce making technology.
To prove the safety of its products, the company obtained international certifications―ISO22000 and ISO 9001. It is planning to acquire FSSC22000 and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System) certifications next year.
Korean Cuisine Seasoning Sauces That Suit the Taste Buds of Foreign Consumers
The seasoning sauce products of Maeil Foods designed for Korean dishes entered the global market under the brand Ajumma Republic. The sauces come in five types: Yuzu Gochujang, Sweet & Sour Gochu- jang, Korean BBQ Sauce, Kimchi Seasoning Sauce, and Japchae Seasoning Sauce.
Yuzu Gochujang is made of gochujang and citron juice. The sauce goes well with spicy bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and meat) and tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cake). Sweet & Sour Gochujang is designed for raw fish and bibimmyeon (spicy noodles). The sauce can also be used as a dressing for salads. Korean BBQ Sauce is fit for meat dishes such as bulgogi (thin slices of beef marinated in a soy sauce) and galbi-gui (grilled beef ribs). The sauce has a great aromatic flavor. Kimchi Seasoning Sauce is developed for foreigners who like kimchi. It adds a kimchi flavor to dishes. Japchae Seasoning Sauce has a rich, salty taste, so it is good for cooking fried rice dishes and fried noodles as well as japchae (glass noodles with sauteed vegetables).
Mr. Oh Su-min, a general manager of the 3rd Sales & Marketing Team, explains, “Our seasoning sauces for Korean dishes are based on traditional Korean sauces. They were developed for foreigners who want to cook Korean dishes―tteokbokki, bibimbap, bulgogi, and so on―easily at home. In the series, Kimchi Seasoning Sauce and Korean BBQ Sauce are the most popular with foreign consumers because kimchi and bulgogi are famous abroad.”
The Ajumma Republic sauces were first exported to the North American market―the US and Canada―last year.
This year, the exports have been expanded to Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Maeil Foods will start selling its sauce products in Italy and Mongolia later this year. What’s more, the company has received inquiries from a Chinese online food buyer and a Chinese duty free shop.
Maeil Foods Exports Its Traditional Korean Sauces to 16 Countries
Maeil Foods is consistently exporting its Korean traditional sauces to foreign markets. The flagship products are Maeil Doenjang and Maeil Shin Gochujang. The former is made of bricks of meju (fermented soybean) doenjang through a traditional method, so it has the unique flavor and scent of traditional doenjang. Maeil Shin Gochujang is made of taeyangcho red pepper and uses the company’s patented natural condiments. It also does a good job delivering the spiciness of traditional gochujang.
The traditional sauces of Maeil Foods are actively exported to 16 countries including China, Vietnam, Russia, the UK, and Australia. The products are sold under the brand Maeil Foods in big distributors―Carrefour, TESCO, and RT-Mart―in Shanghai, China and are contributing to raising brand awareness.
A Goal of USD$2 Million in Exports This Year
Maeil Foods started exporting its traditional sauce products to the global market in 2008. This year, it set the goal of achieving USD$2 million in exports. The company plans to promote its Korean cuisine seasoning sauces and the excellence of Korean traditional sauces to foreign consumers by participating in sales events held at local distributors and in international food fairs.
Mr. Oh Sang-ho, the CEO of Maeil Foods, speaks of his aspiration, “Our new factory (about 6,600㎡) will be completed in February of next year. Then, exports of our traditional sauces and Korean cuisine seasoning sauces will gain momentum. We are proud of being a traditional Korean sauce producer and we will do our best to become one of Asia’s top 100 food producers by 2020.”
What Is the Meaning of Ajumma Republic?
Ajumma Republic is the Korean cuisine seasoning sauce brand of Maeil Foods. Ajumma stands for a Korean woman in her 40s or 50s. The seasoning sauces of Maeil Foods have a similar flavor to those made by middle-aged Korean housewives. In addition to the sauces, the company plans to release other products―seasoned seaweed, yuja (citron) tea, rice snacks, convenience japchae, red pepper powder, and so on―under the Ajumma Repuiblic brand and start exporting them overseas later this year.
Inquiries Maeil Foods Co., Ltd.