AVING News interviewed Lee Ji-woo, the CEO of Nutrigram, which participated in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) Seoul Food Startup Center.
Please introduce your company briefly.
I started my business in 2019, and it had converted to a corporation in May 29 this year. It’s been about a year and half into my business. I was very interested in eating. So I majored in food engineering in college, but when I first started my diet, I became very interested in healthy eating habits, so I chased one dietitian to gain knowledge on food and nutrition. Until this time, I wasn’t interested in starting a business.
But, you know that there are a lot of different ways you can consume food. Among them, especially if it is for a diet to take care of your health, you spend much more time and effort to prepare it. When I was in my twenties, I was very busy with school and work, and wondered if there was any healthy food that can be eaten easily in this kind of lifestyle. Why isn’t there anything to eat at the convenience store even though there are so many of them? I started asking these questions to myself, and also started to search for simple-prep food all over the world. The first food that caught my eyes was the protein bars.
With one bar, you can easily fill the nutrients your body needs anytime, anywhere. However, only energy bars were being distributed in Korea without the concept of ‘protein bar’ at the time, and all of them were very high in sugars, so they were not suitable for a healthy diet. So I said to myself, I will make it myself! Although Nutrigram’s flagship product is a protein bar called Soljikdanbaek, we are not trying only to develop and distribute protein bars.
Our mission is to enable customers to honestly enjoy the nutrition they need in their daily lives, and we are moving forward with a vision to make healthier habits naturally in their lives, and we plan to gradually expand in this direction.
What products would you like to especially introduce?
It is a product called Soljikdanbaek. Soljikdanbaek, unlike most protein bars and energy bars on the market, is a low-sugar, low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber simple nutritional food developed by minimizing sugar content and finding the sweetness that customers can enjoy.
Major features of Soljikdanbaek are as follows. △ Protein combination that has high absorption and fulfilling for a long time △ Protein 14g: 26% of the recommended amount of daily intake by adults △ Low carb, low sugar, no artificial flavoring △ Dietary fiber 11g: 44% of the recommended amount of daily intake by adults △ Chewy, various flavors
Soljikdanbaek was actually developed so that it can be easily eaten anytime and anywhere, without smell or sound, and customers eat it in a variety of ways with the food in trend (Greek yogurt, almond milk, etc.) at that time. They would use it as a topping or pour milk over it. Some people even grill the protein bar to eat it.
What are your plans for the future?
We first started making the protein bars by firmly pressing by hand, and now, it has become Soljikdanbaek. Now, we are waiting for production in the factory we had obtained food manufacturing business license for distribution. Our short-term goal is to expand and stabilize the distribution by offering Soljikdanbaek in a variety of taste and weight. And, if more people can live a healthy life due to this, we are going to take actions to help them. In addition to Soljikdanbaek, there are new products of other formulations, which we will not go into details due to confidentiality. In the future, we are considering developing more specialized raw materials, and even thinking about developing a customized platform with a collection of simple-prep food that makes your life more prosperous.
Do you have any plans for export?
We are targeting Southeast Asia first as the countries to export, and we are aiming to expand gradually from it. Because of the nature of the product, we are going to develop products differently according to the differences in taste, nutritional value, and lifestyle of the countries we are going to export to.
Any last words you would like to say?
We are developing a simple nutritional diet, but I don’t think anything will change just by product development. We are going to everything to notify people when, where, and how much to eat, and help people lead physically and mentally healthy life as well. Please watch how we grow.
Seoul Food Startup Center, which participated in MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) is providing support to the agri-food-related companies come up with innovative ideas and new products. It is supporting food processing technology, licensing, patents, design, and promotional marketing so that agricultural products can be reborn as high-value products. Various startup support services such as ▴Startup training ▴Mentoring ▴Consulting ▴Investment connection are prepared.
The official of the center said, “We are fostering start-up agri-food companies to help develop new competitive products. This is going to lead to the exports of Korea’s excellent agri-food and create more jobs, becoming a new growth engine for Seoul.”
The global news network AVING News has begun holding the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) to help small and medium-sized companies enter the market and attract investment 365 days a year’ AVING News has been running online exhibitions since 2005 and had 975 online exhibitions so far. Its YouTube online exhibition has placed itself as Korea’s largest online exhibition hall that opens with 19,000 videos (booths) with more than 800,000 visits per month which means more than 10 million visits per year.
The MIK HOT SPOT online exhibition is scheduled to be held regularly according to the field, target market, and participating institutions, and it will be presented as a new type of online business by transforming the know-hows and values of the participating companies according to the trend. Companies that want to participate can apply and apply through the marketing support projects from supporting institutions in the local governments. Refer to the institutions for more information.