South Korea

Company out to buck trend with soy milk for Korea’s younger generation

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Soy milk traditionally appeals most to Korea's older generation
Soy milk traditionally appeals most to Korea's older generation

Related tags: Milk

A Korean company is attempting to breathe new life into a soy drink market that is now stagnating after years of fast-paced growth.

With a long tradition in South Korea, soy drinks reached their zenith between 2010 and 2012, when the industry recorded top-line growth of around 33%. However, since 2013, growth has slowed dramatically, on the back of an ageing consumer market within an ageing population. 

To target a new segment, Dr Chung’s Food is launching in the country for the first time a soy drink that is aimed at young, health-conscious female consumers. Under the brand name Vegemil, the UHT soy milk will come with applemango juice with natural pieces of nata de coco and peach. 

The product will use drinksplus technology from New Zealand-owned SIG Combibloc, which allows beverages containing up to 10% “bits” to be processed and aseptically filled into cartons on standard dairy filling machines. 

Il Hwan Jung of Dr Chung’s said finding a way to include the bits was central to developing a drink for Vegemil’s target market.

We want to appeal to a new target group: young consumers. Our primary target audience is young women who want to eat a diet that’s healthy and delicious. [The bits] will put soy drinks in a new light because for the first time​.” 

Up to now, the main Korean consumers of UHT soy drinks have been middle-aged, with products tailored predominantly for the tastes of this key demographic. In addition to plain soy milk, soy drinks with black beans and black sesame have traditionally been among the best-selling varieties in Korea. 

Flavoured soy drinks, on the other hand, are targeted primarily at children and teenagers, though these have only managed to gain a very small share in the overall market for soy drinks. 

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