Korea's Seaweed Exports Soar

  • By Lee Sung-hoon

    October 20, 2020 13:22

    Korean dried seaweed or gim is all the rage in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, occupying dedicated shelves in stores from Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam.

    The biggest producers are CJ Cheiljedang, Daesang and Dongwon F&B.

    Gim or laver is an edible variety of seaweed that is traditionally eaten in Korea and Japan, and the Korean variety is conquering overseas markets. It is typically sold in sheets and spiced with different flavors.

    Korean food companies have made continuous investments to tap into overseas markets for their seaweed. As of last year, Korea exported seaweed products to 109 countries and exports soared 10.3 percent on-year to US$580 million.

    A staffer promotes Korean seaweed products in a superstore in Indonesia on Oct. 5.

    Daesang exports its seaweed products to 29 countries including the U.S., China and Vietnam. It set up a seaweed research center in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province in 2017 to improve the quality of products that makes it so coveted.

    Daesang was also the first Korean company to make gim products overseas. Its factory in Indonesia started production in 2018 with a capacity of some 250 tons. In July this year, it opened another factory in Vietnam with the production capacity of 120 tons.

    CJ Cheiljedang built a seaweed factory in California and began rolling out products early this year. Dongwon F&B has been exporting seasoned laver to China, Japan and the U.S. since 1988.

    Overseas markets are changing quickly. Daesang is poised to make halal seaweed products in Indonesia and export them to other Southeast Asian countries.

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