Now it’s time to take a close look at a small but competitive business making a difference in the Korean economy. As an increasing number of people are pursuing a more convenient lifestyle, innovative products for our everyday lives have been in the spotlight, including kitchenware. There is a company that has worked solely on creating innovative kitchenware for the past 30 years. It is called Jin Han Industry. Let’s meet Park Hong Kyu of Jin Han Industry to learn more about the company and its products.

We have been making innovative kitchen products since 1985. Our brand name is “Doble” which means twice the happiness, twice the joy in Korean and we have created over 200 innovative and eco-friendly kitchen products under that label. The innovative products that represent our company include cutting boards that do not leave knife marks, a steamer that does not require a separate pot, a “Spam Slicer” that cuts luncheon meat into ten equal pieces, a strainer that you can spread over a pot, a sliding cutting board that can be spread over the sink, a convenient orange peeler and safe knives.

A steamer that can blanch, boil, steam and drain water all at once without using a separate steamer pot, a slicer that can cut ham or eggs into identical pieces and an orange peeler that can cut through the thick skin of an orange with convenience are just some of the innovative products created by Jin Han Industry. Since its establishment in 1985, the company has created over 200 ingenious products to help consumers in the kitchen. So, how did the company begin creating innovative kitchenware?

Our CEO loves to cook. Whenever he goes abroad, he always comes back with lots of pots, pans and other kitchen products. Over 2/3 of our office is filled with international kitchen products. Our CEO initially worked for a trading company. However, with his great ideas he started making products on his own and those products were introduced to buyers and exported abroad. The number of products increased one by one and now we have over 200 products being sold all over the world.

Jin Han Industry’s CEO Park No-cheol who was interested in cooking learned about the process of creating a product out of an idea and exporting it while working for a trading company. Whenever he went on business trips abroad, he always visited kitchenware suppliers to analyze the latest trends. Even now when he has time, he visits restaurants to ask chefs what kinds of products they need or want, and what are faults they can find with the products they currently use in their kitchens. In 1983, he established his own company to create innovative kitchen products that were never before seen in the world.

In 1985, only wooden cutting boards existed. We were the first company to create an antibacterial cutting board. We patented the technology and we are the only company with that technology in the world. We developed antibacterial beads that have been US FDA approved. When we put the antibacterial beads into the plastic, we did it over five times to make sure that antibacterial beads would cover the entire cutting board both inside and out. When using an ordinary cutting board mold and bacteria can grow in the scratches. However, our cutting board is completely hygienic, so even if it does scratch, bacteria or mold won’t grow on the board.

Jin Han Industry is often called “the father of antibacterial boards.” People thought wood was the only material that could be used for cutting boards back in the 1980s, but Jin Han Industry was the first to roll out antibacterial plastic cutting boards onto the market. Jin Han Industry’s cutting boards were not just coated with antibacterial material, but the material itself contained antibacterial properties and was also heat resistant. That is why Jin Han Industry’s cutting boards boast 99.9% antibacterial properties. The cutting board passed tests run by the US FDA and Korea’s Public Health and Environment Research Institute. Recently, the company took on a new challenge.

We conducted a survey and discovered that consumers wanted a cutting board that would not get scratched by knives. Based on that survey we started researching and developing a non-scratch cutting board. However, no matter what kind of material we used, the boards would always scratch. We were about to give up when our CEO heard from his friend who is a doctor that were materials used for artificial hearts that were eco-friendly and did not scratch because it would be dangerous for the person using it. After a lot of searching we found out that the material was manufactured in Germany. After receiving the material, we developed a cutting board with it, but it would still scratch a little bit. So, we researched further for another year trying out different temperatures and pressures when manufacturing to create a board that would not scratch. It’s patented technology and the response has been great so far.

Jin Han Industry’s antibacterial cutting boards’ ranked number one in sales in Korea and the company set out to create a cutting board that would not scratch. Conventional cutting boards would get scratches and pieces of food would get stuck in the small crevices causing mold or bacteria to grow. However, creating a scratch-resistant cutting board was a daunting task as it was difficult to find scratch-resistant material strong enough to withhold being marked by sharp knives. Despite the difficulties, the company kept going and after a year of research and development, it succeeded in making a scratch-resistant cutting board. It also became the first company in Korea to have its cutting boards pass the US FDA and Europe SGS standards. Jin Han Industry’s innovative ideas and technical skills were recognized by the world and now the company is busy exporting its products.

We currently export to the US, Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan etc. It’s very difficult to be selected as a HIT 500 product by the Korean government but having that status makes exports much easier because foreign buyers recognize that label. We reached around 3.8 billion won in sales both domestically and internationally.

Jin Han Industry reached one million dollars in exports in 1995. In 2012, their product was selected as a HIT 500 product by the Small and Medium Business Corporation, helping them to gain international buyers. Despite their success, the company refused to become complacent and developed other innovative products such as a “sliding tray inside a chopping board” which combines a sliding tray for straining and an antibacterial cutting board.

This company, which continuously strives to create convenient products that can make any cook happy in the kitchen, is a true powerhouse for kitchen accessories.