Midterm Essay : An Analysis of the Korean Government’s Strategy to Globalize Korean Cuisine and Why it has Failed.

An Analysis of the Korean Government’s Strategy to Globalize Korean Cuisine

and Why it has Failed.

It’s all about Kimchi. One of the major strategies that Korea has chosen to promote Korean food is to go on and on bragging about the history and science that Kimchi has. During 2009 till 2012, the Korean government spent a whopping amount of 931 billion won on promoting Korean food worldwide.[1] Despite all this effort, Kimchi, along with Korean food in general, is not popular or even well-known at all to the rest of the world. It is hard to find Korean restaurants among the plethora of Japanese, Chinese and even Vietnamese restaurants even in big cities such as London or New York. [2] This is because the Korean government’s strategy of food globalization is in its current state is extremely ineffective. Encouraging a positive image towards a country’s cuisine is important in that it helps create a favorable image towards that country which could further lead to people visiting that country, consuming its cultural products or even learning the language, all forms of soft power that contribute to strengthening national competitiveness. Korea’s food globalization plan in its current form can be categorized into three patterns: celebrity marketing, eccentric experimenting with Kimchi, and hosting Korean food festivals. This essay will proceed to analyze these three strategies and point out why these strategies are far from effective.

Korea’s current attitude towards globalizing Korean cuisine mostly focuses on being the talk of the town. Instead of promoting the proprieties of the food itself, such as the taste or healthiness, the main strategy is just to be the hot topic of the day and a large portion of it relies on celebrity marketing. During former president Lee Myung Bak’s administration, the government paid several Hollywood actresses such as Brook Shields 350 million won ( approximately 30 million dollars) each to be seen by the paparazzi picking out Korean food while grocery shopping .[3]  Later, the Korean government used the photographs to falsely report how these famous actresses enjoy cooking Korean food. [4]Not only is this false advertising, blatantly going on about how celebrities enjoy a certain food is not enough to persuade others to enjoy it , especially when there is little  mention about the food itself.

PYH2011060900030001300_P2

Kim,B.S. Brook Shields picking out Korean food while grocery shopping. 2011. Photograph.http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338[20.10.2015]
False celebrity reports aside, a major problem of Korea’s current strategy is its obsession with eccentric Kimchi products. Kimchi is a salty, peppery-hot cabbage side dish that is fermented over a long period of time. Depending on the region, some people add pickled seafood or even raw fish to add a zesty flavor. Unfortunately, as an attempt to capture the attention of the foreign market, the government encourages extreme ludicrous experimentation with Kimchi. A few years ago, the Korean Tourism Organization came up with Kimchi based dessert dishes such as Kimchi flavored chocolate and Kimchi cocktails. Not only are the execution of these dishes unappealing, the taste of sweet chocolate and liquor do not clash well with the spicy taste of Kimchi.

“ The chocolate tasted waxy, and it was milk, not dark- boo. And the kimchi taste was dis-gust-ing. Think sour cooked cabbage in low-grade milk chocolate. Not a winner” (N.A, 2009)[5]

Such experiments certainly do manage to attract interest but rarely manage to form a regular customer group due to the eccentric taste. Blindly focusing on shocking ways to advertise Kimchi has turned it to a laughing stock rather than urging people to try it.

KimChiBox

N.A. An image of a Kimchi chocolate. 2009.Photogaph. http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/ [20.10.2015]

Currently, there are a lot of Korean food festivals of various scales promoting Korean food mostly funded by the government.[6] Most of these festivals have a thing in common; giant sized versions of Korean food. Whether it be Bibimbab (rice mixed with various vegetables), Japchae ( stir fried noodles), or Naeng Myeon ( cold buckwheat noodles), such festivals mostly end with  people serving food out of an enormous plate of food and serving it to foreigners, most of them who have seen Korean food for the very first time. It could push foreigners away from eating Korean food.[7]  When it comes to selling food, the execution of the food is almost as important as the High-end restaurants spend a lot of time on the plating of the food as much as the cooking itself. The reason is simple: If it does not look good, people do not want to taste it. An enormous plate of Bibimbab that can serve 300 people is certainly captures the interest of the public and is worthy of generating Guinness buzz. Whether it plants a positive view toward Korean food and actually makes people want to try though, is a whole different matter.

082557750

Lee,J.W. A photograph of a Korean food festival held in Atlanta.2014.

http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335

The aim of this paper is not to discredit Korean cuisine or suggest its inferiority compared to dishes from other countries. Korean cuisine has a lot of potential to achieve worldwide popularity but its incompetent attempts at promoting it is hurting what little reputation it already has in the global market. However, the incompetent strategy that is used to promote Korean food highly underpins these notions. As pointed numerous times within this essay, Korea’s current strategy in doing so is nothing short of ineffective. Instead, a new tactic promoting the merits and beauty of Korean food based on the unique features that it possesses should be formed. [8]Unfortunately, the Korea has been stubbornly clinging to this strategy for over a decade and shows no intention of adapting a new strategy. Regardless, there is no disagreeing that if apt the innate qualities that Korean cuisine carries is combined with the apt marketing, there is no reason preventing Korean food from achieving worldwide acclaim.

Bibliography

Chang, M. J., & Cho, M. S. (2000). Recognition and preference to Korean traditional food of foreign visitors in Korea. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 15(3), 215-223.

Choi, J. A., & Lee, J. M. (2010). The Perception and Attitude of Food Experts in New York city toward Korean Food-Assessed by In-depth Interviews of. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 25(2), 126-133.

Kim,B.S. (2011). Brook Shields loves Korean food. Retrieved from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338.

Kim,B.S. Brook Shields picking out Korean food while grocery shopping. 2011. Photograph.http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338[20.10.2015].

Lee, E. J., Kim, T. H., & Kim, D. R. (2008). Globalization of Korean cuisine through the Korean food items promotion-focus on marketing strategy of Korean food items. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 23(6), 729-736.

Lee,J.W. A photograph of a Korean food festival held in Atlanta.2014. http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335 .

Min, K. H. (2009). A study on cultivating Korean chefs for the globalization of Korean food. Korean journal of food and cookery science, 25(4), 506-512.
N.A. An image of a Kimchi chocolate.2009.Photogaph. http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/ [20.10.2015].

Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847.

[1] Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847

[2] Choi, J. A., & Lee, J. M. (2010). The Perception and Attitude of Food Experts in New York city toward Korean Food-Assessed by In-depth Interviews of. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 25(2), 126-133.

[3] Son,K.K. (2013). Lee Administration’s unwise spending on food globalization. Retrieved from http://www.kookje.co.kr/news2011/asp/newsbody.asp?code=0100&key=20130622.22002214847

[4] Kim,B.S. (2011). Brook Shields loves Korean food. Retrieved from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=101&oid=001&aid=0005102338

[5] N.A. “How Unusual: Kimchi Chocolate.” 2009. Retrieved from http://chocolatebythebay.com/magazine/outsidechocolate/chocolateroundtheworld/koreanchocolate/how-unusual-kimchi-chocolate/

[6] Cho,Y.C (2015).Government devotes time and money revitalizing Korea’s tourism industry. Retrieved from http://www.fnnews.com/news/201507081559052335 .

[7] Chang, M. J., & Cho, M. S. (2000). Recognition and preference to Korean traditional food of foreign visitors in Korea. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture, 15(3), 215-223.

[8] Min, K. H. (2009). A study on cultivating Korean chefs for the globalization of Korean food. Korean journal of food and cookery science, 25(4), 506-512

Advertisements

답글 남기기

아래 항목을 채우거나 오른쪽 아이콘 중 하나를 클릭하여 로그 인 하세요:

WordPress.com 로고

WordPress.com의 계정을 사용하여 댓글을 남깁니다. 로그아웃 / 변경 )

Twitter 사진

Twitter의 계정을 사용하여 댓글을 남깁니다. 로그아웃 / 변경 )

Facebook 사진

Facebook의 계정을 사용하여 댓글을 남깁니다. 로그아웃 / 변경 )

Google+ photo

Google+의 계정을 사용하여 댓글을 남깁니다. 로그아웃 / 변경 )

%s에 연결하는 중