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Korean food selling at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport in the NetherlandsIncreasingly popular among Europeans

Korean foods, which are increasingly popular among Europeans, are retailed at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport of the Netherlands, one of four largest European airports.

As Schiphol is a European hub airport which handles approximately 53 million passengers annually, it is considered a best venue to publicize Korean food items to passengers of diverse nationalities. Korean dishes are retailed at seven Grab & Fly takeout convenience stores in the airport’s transit areas.

Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation (aT) has striven to expand the Dutch distribution network of Korean foods, while pushing ahead with selling of ramyeon (instant noodle), beverages and snacks through two Dutch marketing firms, Zenos and Albet Heijin, since 2012.

▲Korean foods on sale at the Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands as Korean foods become popular in Europe.

Of particular note, aT has targeted the Dutch convenience stores which serve mostly refrigerated sandwiches by taking advantages of the convenience and warmth of “cup ramyeon noodle.” aT officials took note of the fact that there is no need for the convenience stores to boil water as they already serve hot water with coffee.

With the launch of Korean food, aT has conducted promotional shows in December 2014 by using the convenience stores’ digital menu screens. The promotions seemed quite successful as many passengers enjoyed convenient and hot Korean food items at the airport’s transit areas.

Kim Young-bum, branch manager of aT Center in Paris, said: “Korean dishes are being welcomed for its spicy taste and high quality in Europe markets. They are also recognized as differentiated and new kind of Asian food from the Japanese and Thai.” “Now is the time to target various distribution networks including convenient stores in airports to increase exports of Korean foodstuffs to European markets, when Korea is gaining its international awareness thanks to smart phones, cars and K-POP fever,” he added.

▲Korean foods on sale at the Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands as Korean foods become popular in Europe.

Korea has made strenuous efforts to make its food known to Europeans. As many as 28 companies participated in the International Food Fair held on October 19, 2014 in Villepinte, Paris. Compared to Japan or China, Korean products are still largely unknown, said Kim, branch manager of aT Center in Paris. On display were clay pots showing the process used to ferment vegetables and make kimchi, a staple of the Korean diet, as well as novel dishes such as algae chips, algae marmalade and smoked oysters.

- aT operates 11 aT centers in foreign cities like New York, Los Angles, Paris, Beijing and Tokyo. Their mission is to “globalize Korean agricultural and fisheries products by developing new items for overseas markets and promotion of sales.” aT encourages Korean food enterprises to participate in major international fairs, while striving to develop overseas markets and improve the image of Korean agricultural & fishery products.

- For this purpose, aT tests Korean foods in overseas markets and modify their taste and quality to meet consumer preferences. Items covered are competitive export items such as fruits (apples, pears), vegetables (eggplants, cucumbers), flowers (lilies, roses), and processed foods (kimchi, ginseng chicken soup).

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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