Made by kneading rice, the key point of tteok is the chewy texture. The taste of various crumbs is also important, but the basic chewiness should be backed up to be recognized as tteok. This is why freshly cooked tteok, spewing steams in mills are considered delicious and preferred. Lately, a company has attracted attention by exporting ‘Non-hardened tteok’ maintaining the fresh chewy texture, which don’t get hardened even time goes by. Agricultural cooperate body Yehyang Co., Ltd. is the one. Yehyang is developing a ‘Non-hardened tteok’ product with the patent technology of Rural Development Administration(RDA) and is entering the world based on its popularity in Korea.
#Same chewy texture, better for convenience
There are four types of tteok sold at Yehyang, located in Hoengseong, Gangwon-do. They are ‘One-Bite Choco tteok’, ‘One-Bite Swirling tteok’, ‘Ramie leaf filling bar rice cake’ and ‘Ramie leaf filling jeolpyeon’. All of these products are sold at major stores such as E-Mart, Naver Store, and home shopping channels in Korea, which have been well admired by Korean consumers. This is because while the texture stays soft over time, it also remains chewy. When it’s stored frozen, the marketability is maintained for a year, meaning that you can feel and enjoy the fresh taste again once it’s put at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. It can be used as a convenient substitute for a meal, so word of mouth is spreading among housewives.
Certainly, the taste is also excellent as the fillings and crumbs used for tteok are all produced from Yehyang, enhancing the existing taste. Thanks to this, in 2018, the company took the honor of being selected as an excellent product in the dessert category at the ‘Seoul Food 2018’ held by KOTRA. In addition, it has been designated as a promising export item of future by Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation(aT).
Shin Woo-suk, the CEO of Yehyang said, “We hear positive comments from costumers that our product is good to feed the children as a meal before going to work, or serves as a great energy source during outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and such.”
#A result created by sweats and efforts of Rural Development Administration Rural(RDA) and Yehyang
Yehyang was able to produce their signature product thanks to the patented technology of RDA, whose research team developed the method of making non-hardened tteok. Accidentally, Yehyang saw the recipe and has succeeded in transferring the technology and eventually commercializing the product.
However, the process of commercialization didn’t go smooth from the beginning. The company received a ‘punching’ technique that filled the air bubbles in tteok with fine powder to keep moisture out, but they had to find the best combination of raw materials and environmental conditions. Five years have passed in the process, and five tons of rice have been consumed. Today, it is sold in hypermarkets and online stores, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Yehyang’s hard work and dedication to reach the goal.
The CEO Shin Woo-suk said, “Technology transfer seems very simple in terms of words. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds when it comes to applying due to the different use of raw materials, temperature, humidity and many more. As a result, we have had countless failures, and there were a few moments when we wanted to give up badly as we were lack of capital. But in the end, Yehyang was successful in developing the product so we could come up with our tteok which doesn’t go dry or hardened without any additives."
In fact, when Yehyang commissioned the Korea Food Information Institute for a comprehensive acceptability test of the product, the quality maintained for one year in the frozen state, and the general bacteria and E. coli were not detected.
#Export to the United States, towards the world
Currently, the only exporting country is to the United States. As the awareness of the product is not high yet, the exports remain fairly small. However, buyers who have purchased once have a higher repurchase rate by re-ordering the item, so the exports continue to increase. In addition to the Korean residents in the United States, the locals who have tasted the product left a positive comment describing it as ‘ice jelly’. Consequently, Yehyang plans to enter H-mart and convenience stores as well.
In recent years, Canada is likely to be the next exporting partner as Canadian buyers have made inquiries after seeing the products displayed in the U.S. Not to mention, Hong Kong, China, and Japan buyers are also requesting samples.
This year, Yehyang will also launch new products such as ‘Choux cream tteok' in line with overseas consumer preferences. As the red bean paste can be bizarre concept to other countries, a new flavor is under development process to consider the taste of foreign consumers. The company also plans to launch existing products into smaller package in line with the growing number of single households worldwide.
The CEO Shin said, “The Japanese mochi is familiar around the world, but not Korean tteok. This is because existing tteok product become hardened over time; thus, were difficult to export. However, our products stay soft and chewy retaining the texture. Like the company slogan Haengboki tteokhani (happiness is the tteok),' we will continue to make products that will satisfy everyone.”
Inquiries : Agricultural cooperate body Yehyang Co., Ltd.
Tel : +82-33-342-0700
Fax : +82-33-343-7330
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.hannibe.com