10 November 2004

Krispy Kreme Coming to Korea?!

OK, so Koreans have been on a “well being” kick lately, all complaining about how fat the kids are becoming from just eating burgers and pizza and the like and skipping the traditional rice and kimchi. Well Lotte appears to be none-to-concerned with the whole well being trend, as seen in the Nov. 9 Chosun Ilbo.

Holding a press conference at Lotte Hotel Tuesday, Lotte disclosed, “We made a business contract with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and are to open the first shop in Shinchon, Seoul next month.” Executive Officer Kim Moo-hong of Lotte Shopping’s Krispy Kreme Doughnuts business stated, “We will open more than 25 directly managed branches in the next five years.”

Somewhat humorously, for me at least, is the added note:

Reflecting the recent "well-being" fever, the company plans to serve sugar free donuts and low calorie donuts from next year.

By my standards, Krispy Kreme donuts are pretty awful. They are so soaked in sugar that they are soggy – give me a good old Dunkin Donut any day. Back in 1996, while I was living in Kwangju, the nearest donut shop was in Itaewon in Seoul. There was a Dunkin Donuts there. Then in the basement of the Sinsagae department store, an unnamed donut and coffee stand opened, and we were there every Sunday morning for coffee and donuts… at least until it closed after like three months. At the time, I guess the folks down in Kwangju weren’t quite ready for donuts.

When I was back there earlier this year, there were plenty of donut shops around (according to the Chosun Ilbo article, the Korean donut market now stands at some $45 million, of which 80 to 90 percent is owned by Dunkin Donuts).

And as for Krispy Kreme’s reasons for entering the Korean market?

“Judging that the growth rate of the Korean market was great, Korea is the first Asian nation we've entered,” said an marketing manager at the headquarters of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. He added, “With the Korean market as a foothold, we’re planning to make inroads into the whole Asian region.” It is assumed 80 to 90 percent of the W50 billion worth Korean donut market is occupied by Dunkin Donuts.

Enjoy your donuts!

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