|▲ Yun Eui Gung / CEO Jeong Yun-eui|
The history of Korean traditional sweets and cookies go back to right after the Unified Silla Kingdom in 7th century. People started to make these snacks with grains, honey and vegetable oils. During the Joseon dynasty from 14th to 19th centuries, they became so common and popular that people made them too much up to the level of flour, honey and grain syrups almost ran out in the nation. King Jeongjo once banned of making except weddings and ancestral rites and they got flogged otherwise.
Sadly today, once flourished snacks are way behind of a variety of fancy snacks from overseas. Young people regard the snacks as such food eaten during the ceremonial occasions only. Feeling regretful, Jeong Yun-eui, CEO of Yun Eui Gung, rolled up sleeves and started to prove that Korean traditional sweets and cookies are as tasty and look good as fancy snacks from overseas; in addition, it is healthier.
Jeong took over her family business in her mid 40s. She went all over the country and studied Korean traditional sweets and cookies day and night. When she felt she was ready, she launched a brand ‘Yun Eui Gung’.
When asked what made Yun Eui Gung unique, she pointed out unsparing use of quality ingredients. Instead of starch syrups, she said, grain syrups were used for sweet yet clean taste and all ingredients were domestically grown; instead of cheap peanuts, expensive almonds were used and all products were packaged separately for easy take and keep.
“During my study, I found many traditional snack makers firmly stuck to the way it was. Keeping the tradition is good but not reading the market trend makes them poor.”
Not only she differentiated package design, therefore, but also wrote a simple story about the snack. The lucky bag, for example, wows first followed by a yellow autumn squash honey pastry inside nailing the first impression. Korean alphabets and symbols also cannot be missed to give sophisticated exotic feel to non-natives.
“The concept is that everybody feels the urge to open as soon as they lay eyes upon it. The curiosity then surge up ‘what might be inside waiting for them?’ Once in the mouth, the taste swirl them up on a cloud in a clear blue sky or on a raft floating on the vast and wide blue sea in somewhere exotic Far East land called Korea.”
Yun Eui Gung makes snacks to the amount of selling in order to keep the freshest quality possible. In other words, it is near made to order. Some might wonder it might be too expensive to buy. But it does not wow us at all. Jeong actually has been offered a place from a number of department stores but kindly said no as the price would likely to go up.
As a woman of good heart, it is worth mentioning that she has been helping people in need both with goods and donations. “I remember I received a scholarship in my student years” says her “so it is my small goal to run a scholarship foundation as I want to give it back to students like me.”
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