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[Interview with a resident company] Daepoong Marine Products

Changing food culture with ‘freeze-dried’ marine products

Korea’s west coast features one of five mudflats recognized internationally. Mud baby clams which come from Simwon, Gochang, a UNESCO clean zone. There is a place that makes baby clam dishes easy by removing sand primarily using seawater and with the latest technology for the first time in the industry. It is Daepoong Marine Products…meaning ‘have a bumper harvest.’

Marine products no need to remove sand and clean out

CEO Seung-woo Han’s parents’ taxi cab business faced difficulties during the IMF crisis. He realized the harshness of business and life when he was young. While he was in charge of paperwork at the fresh baby clam distribution company, he felt really bad about the poor working conditions of fishermen which were not improving at all. He thus established Daepoong Marine Products at the baby clam producing village at Simwon, Gochang, in 2015 with local fishermen based on the belief that he could change their poor conditions for the better if he improved unreasonable things one by one. Since then, he has developed various foods using marine products, from frozen baby clam meat to baby clam powder seasoning.

“I didn’t have money so I got funded by KOSME. There was hope that I could grow my business together with the fishermen.” Daepoong Marine Products achieved sales of 300 million won after a year of establishment and the company was also selected as ‘marine product sales consumer preference No. 1 brand.’ CEO Seung-woo Han has become known as a baby clam guy in Gochang as he appeared on “Idea Korea I am a Farmer,” televised by KBS1.

Targeting overseas markets including Spain and the USA with simple cooking

My company moved into the Korea National Food Cluster in 2017 because I felt that the one-stop support is convenient. “I achieved my dream for manufacturing while doing production and distribution only. I received financial support OF over 500 million won from the Foodpolis Support Center to use initial facilities including a lyophilizer.” After consulting with the cluster support center, I changed the previous packaging method of putting ice in plastic bags to the current package that circulates cold air well and does not tear.

 

“I had an idea for dried baby clam meat at the beginning stage of establishment. It was an innovative product that does not require the removal of sand, can be stored at room temperature, and does not produce food waste.” What was born in this way is ‘freeze-dried baby clam meat’ of the Baby Clam Guy brand. He registered the technology patent in October 2018 and started to sell the product from November. He submitted it for the exhibition, and large companies such as Lotte and E-mart showed immediate responses because it is easy to cook and corresponds to the food culture that modern consumers seek.

 

“For now, I am aiming to export. First of all, I am targeting Spain that has a huge baby clam market worth about 3 trillion won. I am also targeting Japan or the USA where they consume a lot of miso soup and clam chowder soup.” CEO Han also showed huge expectations of the sauce industry complex in the cluster which will be completed in November 2019. “When the sauce industry complex opens, I could cooperate to develop clam HMR meat broth products.”

 

‘Baby Clam Guy’ wants to contribute to creating a society where everyone prospers and wins together. It is expected from his image of sweating and running about busily even in midwinter that the dream of Daepoong Marine Products will ‘have a record crop.’

CEO of Daepoong Marine Products Seung-woo Han

 

What is Daepoong Marine Products’ strength?

Our strengths and meaning are based on creating a healthy future food from the largest baby clam distribution area in Korea. ‘Freeze-dried baby clam meat’ of Baby Clam Guy composed of 100% domestic dried baby clam meat is a food that can be cooked as you want easily anytime you need. You can enjoy baby clams from the Yellow Sea without removing sand and worrying about waste.

 

What was your biggest concern before moving into the National Food Cluster?

I had difficulties of lack of funds and manpower because I had ideas and a will to improve the previous working conditions, but did not know how to realize it specifically. It was never easy for a young businessman to establish a business with a will only. However, Foodpolis Support Center for food business foundation became hope. I received a wide range of support from using a cold storage to packaging design. It was especially very helpful because I could find a solution for shrink packaging by consulting with an expert.

 

What are your future plans and is there any additional support you need?

There are a lot of old people and multicultural women in the area among our employees. I sometimes see cases that their hands and feet are crooked while working in the sea breezes. When sales increase, I want to have a stable working environment with an automated system. It is my dream to create an environment where everyone can work happily, and make the best products.

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