Advances to the Global Market with a Korean-style Ginseng Product
Red Ginseng Tea Made with Six-Year Old Red Ginseng and Ginseng Leaves
Whether a traditional Korean product succeeds in the global market very much depends on consumer recognition, that is, whether the product is unique or simply another type of common food. In the early years of the export of Korean food, producers emphasized the authenticity of tradition, as reflected in the catchphrase of the time, “the closer to the Korean prototype, the higher the potential outside the country.”
Recently, however, the trend has changed. Instead of sticking strictly to the tradition, many Korean companies are trying to reach to foreign consumers by customizing products with traditional features and adjusting them to local preferences. In this way, the export strategy for traditional Korean food is in the process of aligning with consumer trends. Further competitiveness can be achieved by using the ingredients and packaging designs that local consumers like.
It is in this context that Korea G.T.C Co. Ltd. is embarking on the export of red ginseng tea, a representative traditional Korean food product, using a glocalization strategy.
20 Years of Knowhow in Developing Red Ginseng Products
Korea G.T.C, a red ginseng specialty company, targets the UK, mainland China, and Hong Kong as its main export markets. It first intends to create with its red ginseng tea a firm base in the markets of the Chinese cultural sphere where the tea culture is highly developed. Even though the company has relatively little exporting experience in comparison with other Korean red ginseng producers, its know-how and experience in the domestic market allowed it to achieve impressive results in China in a short period of time. In 2014, the company opened a store in a major Korean duty free shop and has been attracting much attention from tourists. Negotiations for export contracts are underway with local vendors in Hong Kong and the UK.
Korea G.T.C has been making red ginseng products for about 20 years but its endeavor to conquer markets abroad is a recent development. The company decided to shift its focus because no big changes are expected in the domestic market either in domination of certain brands or in the continuous stagnation trend in consumption. In this light, the biggest issue for the company’s survival is to increase the competitiveness of its products overseas.
Mr. Kim Tae-eung, director of Korea G.T.C, said, “A company can obtain a sufficient competitive edge only when it is able to make products with the best-quality raw ingredients and merge the Korean features of these products with the characteristics of local cultures.”
Knocking on the Doors of China with a Premium Product, Goryeo Red Ginseng Tea
In Korea, red ginseng, a traditional food ingredient, is used mainly to make extract or juice. In contrast, it is consumed in capsules in western countries and used to make cuisine in China. As interest in health is on the rise in China, the demand for ginseng and red ginseng tea there is increasing and many red ginseng companies are striving to meet that demand.
Korea G.T.C is also doing its best to develop products most suitable for the local consumer. It is currently offering several products based on processed red ginseng, including ginseng roots, Round & Flat red ginseng, red ginseng tea, and ginseng tea. The Round & Flat are tablets of red ginseng which are round and flat in shape. They use six-year old red ginseng and ginseng leaves, and can be eaten as are or made into tea. The red ginseng tea also uses six-year old red ginseng and ginseng leaves.
Focus on Offering Products in Accordance with Consumer Needs
Korea Red Ginseng Masters Tea is a premium product recently launched by Korea G.T.C. It is an example of how a Korean tradition can be customized to fulfill the demands of local consumers. The tea is of a leached type and boasts an exceptional safety and quality.
It is made with only the top 30% of the red ginseng that has gone through the six-month long process of steaming and drying. The leaves used are also of the best quality. The tea is 100% handmade by applying the company’s knowledge of fermentation and roasting the leaves on a heated caldron. To expand the market for the red ginseng tea by appealing to local tastes, Korea G.T.C conducted sampling tests with tea connoisseurs from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the UK.
Korean features are emphasized in the product’s packaging. By using the motif of golden crowns worn by kings of the Three Kingdoms period (1st century BC–7th century AD), Korea G.T.C seeks to create images of luxury and tradition. Furthermore, the product is customized by the market. For example, the tea bound for China is wrapped in red, a color loved by the Chinese. Also, to match the specifics of the Chinese tea culture, the product is leached and the tea can be infused from it several times.
According to Mr. Kim, Korea G.T.C keeps studying local preferences in terms of taste, scent, and color of red ginseng tea while paying attention to current global trends of convenience and healthy living style. He adds, “On top of food safety and high quality, we are striving to understand the culture of importing countries and attract more local consumers by offering the product that they desire.”
Inquiries Korea G.T.C Co., Ltd.