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New Marketing Trend Is Socially Aware

Posted October. 20, 2006 03:02,   


A sensation recently occurred in the distribution market with the introduction of a soy sauce 1,300 times more expensive than the regular brand.

Made with a 350-year old manufacturing technology in a prestigious household in Boeun, North Chungcheong Province, a 1L soy sauce container costs 5.0 million won. Compared with a typical brand sold in Shinsegae Emart, which costs 3,750 won, the cost is stunning. The 5.0 million won soy sauce became well known after being introduced at the ‘Upscale LOHAS (Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability) Food Fair’ held in April at the Hyundai Department Store.

LOHAS, which aims for a lifestyle that takes into consideration both the individual and societal health and development, is becoming a new consumer trend replacing well-being.

From food to electronic products-

The market has produced a plethora of products using LOHAS as a label or as a marketing line.

Organic or non-agrichemical products are prime examples of LOHAS products.

Pulmuone, which focuses on food products, aims to focus on organically manufactured products that do not have artificial coloring in rice, vegetables, and fruits and which carry the government approved environmentally friendly label.

The cooler/heater ‘Tempia’ does not use fossil fuels or electricity but air, a prime LOHAS electronics product that saves more than 10 percent of electricity usage.

The steam Trom washing machine from LG Electronics and the air conditioner Hauzen from Samsung Electronics are also designed to save up to 30 percent of energy.

Construction companies are competitively introducing LOHAS apartments that aim for the well-being of the inhabitants by expanding the common public areas.

GS Construction recently installed the country’s first solar energy based footbath (Xi Solar health system) in the apartment Gwangjang Xi, which is being constructed in Gwangjang-dong, Gwanjin-gu, Seoul. Daelim Industrial Co, Ltd installed a putting green in the middle floor of its building Acro Tower in Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, while a health club garden was installed in the apartment ‘Daehyeon e-pyeonhansesang’ in Daehyeon-dong, Buk-gu, Daegu.

Patent licensing using LOHAS has also increased.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the LOHAS label (including service labels) was first licensed in February 2004, and 51 followed on the same year, while 128 cases were recorded last year and 97 this year until last month.

Well-being vs. LOHAS-

The concept of well-being and LOHAS both aim for a healthy lifestyle. Products of both concepts mostly focus on health and the environment.

But well-being is more self-oriented in that it focuses only on personal health. In comparison, LOHAS also has an altruistic side in that it considers the happiness of the society.

Lee Seung-bo, an examiner at the Service Examination team of the Korean Intellectual Property Office, said, “When the interest in well-being waned, companies started to turn to the new concept of LOHAS.”

Professor Park Heung-soo, a business professor at Yonsei University, analyzed the trend, saying, “The trend lies in the fact that the Korean society is fast moving into an aging society.”

Consumers over 60 spend the largest proportion of their money on medical fees, and thus attention has turned to LOHAS due to more interest in reducing these costs and living a youthful, healthy, and plentiful life.

Kim Min-ju, head of the marketing consulting firm ‘Lead and Leader’, said “LOHAS followers are consumers that have moved beyond well-being and aim for an environmentally friendly lifestyle,” and added, “to meet the needs of these consumers environmentally friendly products should be developed, along with attempts to change the management into environmentally friendly companies.”

jsonhng@donga.com imsoo@donga.com