vermillion horizon

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Korean coffee

Over the weekend, we visited a Korean grocery store here in Chicago for the first time, Chicago Food Corp. Some Japanese friends had recommended this little supermarket to us. Although the Chicago suburbs have a number of Japanese stores, very few, if any, can be found in the city itself. So Chicago Food Corp is probably the best substitute. This store sells a lot of food familiar to anyone who has spent time in Japan - vegetables like daikon and shiitake, fruit like nashi, miso paste, golden curry, even Kewpie mayonnaise. What a happy place!

But I had to laugh a bit at some of the products. At first glance, they looked like items I had become used to seeing at my local market in Tokushima. But when I looked closer, I realized they were actually Korean brands! One product in particular stands out. In Japanese bakeries, I always used to buy Mt. Rainier Caffe Latte, which is made by Morinaga. Well, in Chicago Food Corp, Caffe Latte is sold too - only it turned out to be Love Caffe Latte, made by a company called Maeil. It looks almost the same!

And actually it tastes almost the same too. I'm so curious about the connection between these two products. Did Morinaga and Maeil work on them together? Perhaps these companies are owned by the same parent company and therefore share some products? Or did one company simply copy the other?

And why doesn't anyone bring these Caffe Latte products to the US - I love them!

Chicago Food Corp
3333 N. Kimball Ave.
Chicago, IL

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  • Hi, horizon!

    What a coincidence! lol. I believe this matter deserves Morinagamilk's attention, so I've already asked them about it. The sales representatives will be happy to answer your questions or concerns. Just a moment, please.

    I will report the details after I get their reply.

    By Blogger bun, at 7:38 AM  

  • Hi bun-san,
    Yes please let me know! It's a very unbelievable coincidence :)

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 11:42 AM  

  • Hi horizon,

    I got it. So much for digressions, I was very surprised at how fast they replied, though it is the last Sunday of the Obon vacation today. What an eager beaver!

    Well, let's get down to business. Mr. Yasuda, the customor service in charge, wrote to me that it is true once Morinagamilk had a technical tie-up with Maeil but now they bear no relation to each other.

    Reading it, I guess Morinagamilk must know the coincidence well but dare to turn a blind eye to it, because there are no seriously conflicting interests between them in the cafe-latte market. As a result, I figure the Korean cafe "latte" can be a great cash "cow" for Maeil. lol.

    By Blogger bun, at 10:03 AM  

  • Hi bun-san,
    Unbelievable! That's great detective work on your part. Now I just wonder what would happen if Morinaga decides to expand into the Korean market again Maeil, or vice versa... But for now I guess both companies can be happy with their successful products!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 8:39 PM  

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