Most of the existing Korean food products in Irish and European markets are imported from China or from Korea, and it is hard to trace the process and monitor the quality.
Jaru produces Korean food using locally grown and seasonal Irish ingredients with old traditional Korean recipes and new food science technology. The company is focusing on producing enticing products for domestic and international markets.
Many of Gunmoo Kim’s childhood memories in Korea, where his father runs a food company, are all about food. Gunmoo came to Ireland in 2010 to gain new experiences and while working in a small Korean restaurant in Dublin, he could see market potential for genuine Korean food in Ireland. He studied in DIT for a BSc in Culinary Entrepreneurship and began trading in September 2016. Jaru started serving Korean hot foods (such as Kimchi fried rice, Korean BBQ marinated beef and fermented sauces), trading in lunchtime food markets and weekend farmers markets. Using the company’s main products - Kimchi, fermented sauces, and pickles - on the menus allowed Jaru to conduct market validation, and these stalls became the busiest in the markets, serving 100-150 customers over a two-hour lunchtime.
Along with the market business, Jaru participated in SuperValu’s Food Academy programme in 2016 and received support from the Dublin City Local Enterprise Office to develop packagings and brandings. Jaru started to stock in SuperValu in March 2017, and now its Kimchi can be found in 18 SuperValu stores and 5 independent food stores.
In 2016, Jaru participated in Hothouse i-Cubed student accelerator programme and had many supports at that early stage. In 2017 Jaru is now participating in the New Frontier Programme at DIT and developing the company’s next plans with supports from the DIT Hothouse team.
“The sessions at Hothouse i-Cubed were really helpful, we could develop all the important things for a startup: revenue streams, business model, market validations and so on. We had a grant of 5,000 Euro from this programme which really helped us get started.”