Meal-alternative healthy Korean snacks go global: Maehong L&F

신태섭 기자l승인2021.03.22l수정2021.03.22 14:01






▲ Maehong L&F / CEO Jang Hyung-yoon

Maehong L&F is a South Korean snack maker established in 2013. It runs 6 brands (Maehong, Natureit, Jayeondaum, Chaksansangjeom, Dalda and Welleu) and sells 150 kinds of snacks and meal-alternatives found in 600 on/offline stores nationwide including Homeplus. 

The flagship snack is nurungi (scorched rice) made with the traditional 200 degree Celsius furnace fire and it serves as a meal-alternative; the gogumamalangi (dried sweet potato) is one of the cash cows of the company and it is made of 100% sweet potato from Jeolla Province and has been sold record high at Homeplus nationwide; the fish collagen is the hottest seller of the super food lines of the company as fish collagen is known to be better than pork collagen in terms of absorption.

The sales of Maehong L&F were 2 billion won (1.7 million USD) in 2014. It had made a steady growth since 2015 and jumped to 19 billion won in 2019 making a strong presence in the field. 

“I ran the company as an original equipment manufacturer at the initial stage. Then I started introducing my own brands from 2015. The dried sweet potato was sold like hot cakes at Homeplus and I was hardly able to meet the pouring demand. I was really happy and encouraged by this I added more snack lines year by year alongside continuous market research. I feel I have to show my huge gratitude to Homeplus who recognized the potential of my snack first” says Jang Hyung-yoon, CEO of Maehong L&F.

Jang minimized distribution process to maintain price competitiveness and introduced HACCP certified manufacturing and packaging facilities. The company’s health and safety team is strict on handling the food and playing an important role for the products to be sold at Homeplus and other big supermarkets. Despite the pandemic, the sales of the company have not been affected much due to the increased sales figure online instead.

Gangwon Province appointed Maehong L&F as the second promising enterprise of the province last year followed by Seoraksan Green Food in 2018. Jang increased number of employees to 39 from 23 in 2019 and improved staff welfare on which the company was listed in the Gangwondo Job Awards in November 2020. In addition, Jang has been donating snacks to medical staff sweating to contain the novel corona virus and proactively engaging in helping low income families. 

“I signed a 2 billion won (1.7 million USD) contract with a company in Las Vegas, US in 2019. It came to a halt due to the pandemic but I’m determined to enter overseas market in earnest when the virus is contained” says Jang. PowerKorea

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