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Homeplus holds Korean Food Fair at 49 Tesco stores in U.K.

Homeplus holds Korean Food Fair at 49 Tesco stores in U.K.

Posted November. 07, 2013 08:00,   


“Discover True Korean Food”

An event took place at New Malden, a residential area some 40-minute drive from downtown London on Tuesday (local time). Tesco Extra New Malden Store in the area looked as if it was a large discount store in Korea. Food sales decks were full of Korean products including ramen, hot pepper paste, soybean sauce, rice, soju liquor, makgeolli or rice wine, and hongcho or red vinegar. Local resident Mcgrenla Pascal, who sampled bulgogi or seasoned barbecued beef at the store, exclaimed, saying, “While British foods are monotonous and bland, Korean food tastes harmonious although not strong in flavor.”

The event is dubbed the “Korean Food Fair for shared growth of large, medium and small enterprises,” which showcases Korean food from Tuesday through next Sunday. It is hosted by the Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry, and organized jointly by Tesco, Tesco Homeplus, and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). Tesco Homeplus in Korea, whose 100 percent-stake is owned by Tesco, brought here some 150 kinds of products from 18 of its suppliers by air.

Marking the third annual event, the fair takes place at 49 stores across the U.K., including the New Malden store. Since its launch at one store in 2011, the event has significantly expanded this year.

The significance of the event is “advance into foreign markets for shared growth” initiative, under which a distribution companies proactively assist development of sales networks for Korea’s small and medium-sized enterprises.

Indeed, Kookje Food, which produces and sells brown rice green tea, started supplying to Karstadt, a German department store, after introducing its products at the Korean Food Fair last year. Seon Jeong-ho, director at Kookje Food, said, “We had difficulties entering the (Europe) market due to high barriers, including observation of product label rules, but since pilot-selling our products at Tesco stores, the awareness of our products in the market elevated.”

Korean products, which opened beachhead in the market after debuting at the Korea Food Fair last year, are being sold at more than 20 Tesco stores in the U.K. The products on sale include those from conglomerates including hot pepper paste (CJ Cheiljedang), Cheoeum cheoreom soju (Lotte Chilsung), Jin Ganjang or soybean sauce (Sempio), and Pepero (Lotte Confectionary), but not a few of them are coming from SMEs such as laver (Korea Fisheries) and Icheon Rice (Migwang).

“Growth potential of Korean food is very high, but it is relatively less known in the global market,” said Matt Clark, merchandising manager at Tesco World Food. “Tesco operates more than 6,500 stores in 12 countries, including the U.K., Hungary, and the Czech Republic, and the event will give big boost to the globalization of Korean food.”

“The Korean Food Fair is significant in that conglomerates and SMEs joined forces to open an export channel to a major distribution company in the U.K.” said Do Seong-hwan, president of Tesco Homeplus. “We will continue to help Korea`s food companies make inroads into foreign markets.”