CJ Cheiljedang has just ramped up its effort to lead the global laver market nicknamed the semiconductor in the food industry, planning to make laver snack their next-gen flagship product after its Bibigo steamed dumplings. In fact, snack-typed laver makes the mouth of global consumers watering. The year 2024 is expected to see a double increase of Korean laver exports, which recorded the threshold of 500 million dollars or 596.7 billion won in 2017 for the first time.
CJ Cheiljedang’s focus is on expanding production facilities. The Korean food producer has revealed that it is working to triple laver production lines in Vietnam to target the Southeast Asian market, making the yearly production of 50 tons rise to 150 tons. The project is aimed to finish by the latter half of the year. The company is constructing a production facility in western U.S. to get it done around the time.
Along with such efforts to expand overseas production lines, earlier last month, CJ Cheiljedang acquired four-fifths of shares of Samhae Commercial Co., Ltd., one of Korea’s largest laver producer with a total investment of 73.8 billion won aggregated from last year. Since 1968, Samhae Commercial has grown its specialty in laver products while holding more than 20 laver-related patents.
What has attracted CJ Cheiljedang to laver is a fact that only Korea, Japan and China produce raw material for laver products. Korean laver costs less than Japanese one, the width of which allows it to be produced in snack. Japanese laver is thick enough to make rice balls and sushi while Chinese one is used for broth or soup. Rising as a laver exporter in the 2000s, Thailand procures material from Korea, Japan and China and processes it to sell the products in Southeast Asia.
An increasing attention is being paid to the possibility that CJ Cheiljedang’s strategies will take the Korean laver industry to a next level. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced measures to develop the laver industry in September 2017, emphasizing remedies to the industrial structure with petty businesses, high added value creation via product development and improvements in food security and hygiene management. “Currently, Thailand leads the laver snack market while Japan having the upper hand in terms of sushi laver production,” said a CJ Cheiljedang employee. “We will strengthen its R&D efforts to make laver serve as a main axis for K-food.”
Seong-Ho Hwang email@example.com