Aussie cheese creams it in South Korea

Wednesday, 04 July, 2007

A change of menu for 420 Dunkin Donut stores in South Korea has resulted in a tenfold increase in cream cheese exports from Australia in the last three months.

Austrade's senior business development manager, Hae-Sook Chung said Australian products are making a significant impact, with South Korea currently Australia's third biggest merchandise export market.

"Korea is a highly brand-oriented society which means that "Brand Australia' is an important marketing and business platform," Ms Chung said.

Dunkin Donuts, the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain with more than 7000 stores worldwide, has a significant presence in South Korea.

As part of its strategic shift to non trans fatty foods, Dunkin Donuts, with its core product being fried, recently developed a bagel and cream cheese menu for Korean customers. The cream cheese incorporates apricot and almond, and rum and raisin flavours.

Ms Chung said the Australian cream cheese deal came about when Dunkin Donuts purchased the cream cheese from WhiteCheese Co, a Korean company specialising in importing sweet flavoured cheeses. They in turn bought the cheese from Australia's leading dairy manufacturer, National Foods Limited.

Austrade's Seoul office has worked for 10 years with National Foods providing in-market support. Austrade has also been instrumental in introducing National Foods to the Korean-based suppliers of cheese for Dunkin Donuts, Ms Chung said.

WhiteCheese Co founder and CEO Lee Seon-Ku originally came to know about cream cheese while he was a student studying English in Australia. He became very enthusiastic about the taste and was committed to promoting its use in South Korea.

Tony Gunnis, who manages cheese exports for National Foods, said specialty cheese products were an important part of the company's international growth strategy together with its milk and juice categories.

"The partnership with WhiteCheese Co to supply Australian cream cheese to Dunkin Donuts stores in Korea has represented an extraordinary growth opportunity," said Mr Gunnis.

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