iCOOP declared ‘Healing and Restoring’ as its new business foundation in 2019 and established the Natural Dream Food Cure & Research Foundation to fundamentally heal lifestyle diseases through healthy food and help members maintain their health. To realize them, it opened a healing center and a Korean medical clinic in Goesan Natural Dream Park – one of the iCOOP organic food industrial complexes and is operating a number of programs including “Healing School” that treats patients with diabetes and high blood pressure.
In line with this, in 2020, iCoop has turned to innovation for the development of “foods that help to heal and restore”. This program envisions three areas of activity:
Launching and growing a completely new brand – “Healing Food (HF)”
Promoting eco-friendly organic agricultural produce via a 20% reduction in price
Ensuring delivery 6 days of the week
iCoop’s New Brand “Healing Food”
The Natural Dream Food Cure & Research Foundation has started developing products that improve people’s diet, which is the core of the Healing programs. Among them is the product line “Vegetables over medicine” that features freeze-dried 7-10 kinds of organic vegetables rich in micronutrients and beverages to reduce blood sugar and gluten intake. In particular, “Vegetables over medicine” reduces the volume of raw materials to 1/10 in order to allow consumers to easily consume 500g of vegetables only with two bags a day. This HF product is currently provided to participants of Healing programs and is designed to purchase them according to expert consultation on an individual basis taking into account each person’s symptoms / diseases.
Promoting Organic Products - Up to 20% Reduction
Organic agricultural produce grown in soil rich in organic matter and microorganisms contain an abundance of nutrients and meets the essential criteria of iCoop’s “Healing and Restoring” programs. However, a common challenge facing shoppers is that the average market price is higher than that of non-organic agricultural products, rendering them less affordable and therefore less available to ordinary consumers.
To respond to this market phenomenon, iCOOP decided to lower the price of organic products by up to 20% from July onwards in order to boost public awareness and promote the value of “Healing and Restoring Food for More People” and to encourage members to shift to healthier lifestyles with foods that boost “immunity”, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emphasis is placed on a set of target products, including 13 vegetables and fruits frequently purchased by members, such as, for example, pesticide-free onions were priced at 34% lower than regular ones. Items will continually be added considering the member demand and seasonality.
The price reduction is not only beneficial to the members, but also to producers who have had close relationships with iCOOP for the past 20 years in order to provide and secure organic and safe products. Jung Il-Sung, Chairperson of iCOOP’s producers’ coop Farmers’ COOP said, “Due to COVID-19, the distribution to school cafeterias has shrunk or closed entirely. The new price policy helps producers secure a market, leading to mutual benefit for consumers and producers.”
Ensuring 6-days/week Delivery
In order to improve members’ convenience on increased online orders and expand the “Healing and Restoring” program in the long-term and make it sustainable, iCOOP has expanded the current 2-3 days/week delivery services to 6 days/week. It started as a pilot project at two stores in November 2019, and as of June 2020, expanded to 37 stores, expecting to include 60 stores by September 2020.
When members live in proximity to a store or a delivery center (max. 5 km radius), they are able to receive the products ordered two days prior on iCOOP Natural Dream online mall on any of the six days except Sunday. The increase in sales of the pilot stores is about twice as high, especially due to the coronavirus.