Kim Jong Boo, Chairman & CEO, Kuvings, explains the philosophy and vision of his company
The Korean small appliance manufacturer Kuvings is back at IFA for the eighth time, but this year the company has new ambitions in the global market. We asked Chairman and CEO Kim Jong Boo to tell us a little about his company’s background.
I established the company in 1978, with a rotating juicer and blender, so next year we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary. We have always focused on juicers and blenders. Even in the beginning, juicers were directly linked with wellness, but many people didn’t realise to which point a blender does exactly the same thing. Some dealers and distributors think juicers and blenders should be considered as two different categories, but this is not really the case. For me, both devices fall into the same category, which is why we develop them both at the same level. Kuvings simply stands for well-being in the kitchen.
When did you come up with the idea of vacuum blending and juicing?
It took around ten years to develop. Actually, even back in 1980, we developed a vacuum sealer, and we began thinking about how we could leverage this. We had the vacuum technology, but didn’t have the idea of making a vacuum blender. In 2005, the idea of combining the two technologies – vacuum and blending – came to us. It has been commercialised now for ten years.
What are the key selling points of your devices?
We are focusing and investing on different, unique technology, user convenience, and quality.
We have also very strong global patents covering our technologies. For instance, we are the only ones to have the fundamental, basic technology for the Whole Slow Juicer.
The products have been winning some very important awards. You must be very proud of this.
Indeed, we won the reddot design award, iF design award and Kitchen Innovations Awards this year for the Whole Slow Juicer, but we will by no means rest on our laurels. We continue to strive to develop and improve our products.
What makes the vacuum blender so special?
One of our key selling points is the fact that people don’t have to cut the ingredients into small pieces, so this saves time. Furthermore, as everyone knows, ingredients kept in a vacuum maintain freshness for a long time, preserving flavour and aromas, enabling them to remain fresh and rich for a longer time, and nutritional loss is minimised. In other words, ordinary blending of fruits and vegetables causes oxidation of ingredients instantly through contact with air. Blending of ingredients using vacuum function (removing air) delays spoilage and improves the freshness of the juice. With fewer air bubbles, the texture is also much better. Studies have proven that vitamin preservation is vastly improved by using our system, and it has also been found that the human organism is able to better digest and absorb nutrients that have been extracted using the Kuvings Silent Juicer than through eating raw fruits and vegetables. For example, in an analysis of Vitamin C content from tomatoes, it was found that a raw tomato contains 2.11 mg/100g of vitamin C, there was 1.81 mg/100g, while with the Kuvings Silent Juicer, the level was as high as 9.39 mg/100g. As adults need around 75 mg of vitamin C per day, this means a single cup of juice from the Silent Juicer can supply 25% of average daily requirements.
KUVINGS SIMPLY STANDS FOR WELL-BEING IN THE KITCHEN
What are your main reasons for coming to IFA?
We are here to meet our partners, show our innovative products to the broader audience at IFA, who are looking to find new products and new technologies. We are also looking ahead to next year, in terms of how we can further advance our technology. While we already have around 30 strong distribution partners here in Europe including in Germany, France, Scandinavia, Poland and Italy – we are looking for new distribution partners with whom to develop our business. We would also like to cooperate more with major department stores in terms of developing the market. Already in South-East Asia, we have flagship stores that allow for comprehensive demonstration and display of these devices, wherein end customers can see how they work and taste the juices that can be made with the Whole Slow Juicer Chef. This is very important in the sales process, and in Europe we need to further develop this.
How are you working on developing your brand on a global scale?
Already, if you search the word Kuvings online, you will find a large number of assets enabling people to discover our products. In the future, we will be working on developing offline marketing with our key international partners, who share our philosophy and are also working hard to grow the power of the brand. They are letting more and more people know about our products and how they can reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle thanks to their quality. The great cooperation we have with our distributors is instrumental in achieving the kind of results we are looking for.
How did you become interested in this field in the beginning?
When I was going to university, studying management, I worked part time to support my studies, selling kitchen appliances. That was in 1972. That means my entire background in this field is 45 years.
So you put the right people around you to develop these products; a little like Edison?
(Laughs) I was able to leverage a public organisation in Korea that works to combine the talents and efforts of universities, public companies, R&D labs and industrial companies. I am also one of the directors of this organisation.
We continue to work closely with universities to develop our products and business, and our R&D is also based within a university campus. We currently have around 300 employees, working in our factory in Taegu and our other subsidiary offices in Korea.
You have developed around 60 different kinds of kitchen appliances. Which products make you the proudest?
I have the greatest affection for the blender and the juicer. It’s through our innovation with these products that we will be able to meet our target.
What does the future hold?
We are releasing new products every year, and the future will revolve around IoT and artificial intelligence, which will help users operate the machines more easily and intuitively. Our aim is to create a long-term relationship with the end customers, in which they can be happy with our products over a period of at least ten years. For this, we keep the relationship ‘fresh’ by regularly supplying new recipes that wake up their taste buds.
What is your company vision?
The key words for our company are “health care in kitchen appliances”. Our vision is to be the global number one manufacturer of juicers. Even though we are number one in the production of top end products in this product category.
What is your message to distributors present at IFA 2017?
We want our product to bring better health to the end users. We would like to be known as the producers of the best whole slow juicer and vacuum blender so that we can give our customers the gifts of wellbeing, health and happiness.
THE FUTURE WILL REVOLVE AROUND IOT AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
HALL 9 / STAND 111
Photo: Kim Jong Boo. Chairman & CEO, Kuvings.