[CJ Heritage] is a monthly column highlighting the evolution of CJ’s heritage and the best, the first, and the most unique corporate moments alongside modern Korean history
Have you ever tried out Korean cooking at home but felt that something was not quite right? That your dish was missing an essential something? Your key to success might well be DASIDA, a seasoning powder that unlocks deep flavors in Korean staples like soups, jjigae and braised dishes. A beloved brand in its native Korea, DASIDA has been coming to the rescue of culinary enthusiasts for decades, making meals richer and cooking more convenient. With Korean cuisine flourishing all over the world, DASIDA is one of the perfect alternatives for adventurous chefs when chicken stock just does not cut it.
DASIDA – changed the landscape of Korean seasoning and paved the way for the innovative new products the company produces today. These products are bringing the joy of Korean cooking to more and more people all over the world – but where did it all start? Today, CJ Newsroom takes a look back through the history of DASIDA, and its role in the growth of the Korean food industry.
Shifting the Seasoning Paradigm
CJ CheilJedang is a big player in the condiment and seasoning business and has invested heavily in the market since its founding in 1963. However, the company did not have instant industry dominance. To win its place in the field, CJ CheilJedang had to carefully study customer consumption patterns, preference trends and eating habits. This resulted in a focus on all-purpose seasoning and a strong response from the customer base.
DASIDA – which stems from a term meaning ‘lip smackingly delicious’ in Korean – first arrived on the Korean dining table in November, 1975. From the start, the brand made sure to distinguish itself from the traditional fermented seasoning products it was competing with. 80% of DASIDA’s ingredients were natural: rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and more. An innovative sterilization process and the simplicity with which DASIDA could be added to any dish also helped differentiate it from rival seasonings. In short, it was much more comprehensive than its competitors.
DASIDA was a hit, and the market response went beyond the company’s expectations. CJ CheilJedang had to increase production volume by ten times in just two months on from the initial launch. It was the start of a new era for the industry, known in Korea as the ‘second generation of seasoning,’ where natural, all-purpose seasoning options came to replace traditional fermented ones.
As a latecomer to the fermented seasoning market, CJ CheilJedang could have been on the backfoot in the world of first generation seasoning. The launch of DASIDA in 1975, however, permanently shifted the seasoning landscape, and CJ CheilJedang was more than ready for the next phase.
The Taste of Home
It was not just DASIDA’s quality that secured its success. At the core of CJ CheilJedang’s marketing approach was a canny media strategy. Using TV commercials in particular, the company positioned DASIDA not just as a cooking product but as the nation’s choice for seasoning.
“This is the taste!”
In a widely-watched and well-remembered TV advertisement, veteran Korean actress Kim Hye-ja took a sip of steaming soup after adding DASIDA to it. “This is the taste!” she famously exclaimed to the camera. It is a line that anyone living in Korea through the 1970s and 80s is likely to be familiar with. It was a positive image for the brand which helped win the hearts and minds of people all over the country.
CJ CheilJedang’s ‘Taste of Home’ campaign, which ran in the 1980s, also left a remarkable footprint in Korean advertising history. By connecting the taste of DASIDA directly with the connotations of home, customers associated the product with more than just flavor: it brought to mind memory, nostalgia and a feeling of domestic comfort.
The commercial series ran from 1987 to 1990. During the 90s, the brand shifted focus, moving towards a broader definition of home that matched the rapidly evolving times. The brand sought to stay in touch with its customers, moving along with changing social perceptions and priorities, all the while solidifying DASIDA’s place in the collective memory as Korea’s premier seasoning brand. Its image evoked the authentic feeling of home without lapsing into cliché.
As time went on, CJ CheilJedang rose to absolute market leadership in the Korean seasoning industry. As well as developing its classic products, it continued to introduce more categories, like new varieties and flavors of convenience foods and ready meals, creating new demand in emerging markets. Today, DASIDA maintains the status it has had since it first launched in 1975: Korea’s best and most beloved seasoning choice.
Paving the Way for Tomorrow’s Innovative Brands
Heritage aside, CJ CheilJedang continues to strive for innovation, experimentation and fresh demand in the modern day. The company has recently released its new Vegan DASIDA, an innovative soybean-based seasoning which captures the rich, deep flavor of beef, masterfully recreating the original DASIDA experience while using no artificial ingredients. This Vegan DASIDA seasoning will help the company meet the growing needs and values of consumers increasingly in search of sustainable, vegan products.
TasteNrich® and FlavorNrich® are two further examples: natural seasonings developed using cutting-edge techniques that enhance the flavor of meat alternatives. Through products like this, CJ CheilJedang is leveraging more than 60 years of fermentation know-how to meet global trends surrounding sustainable and vegan dietary preferences. TasteNrich®, a plant-based seasoning ingredient, is made via the fermentation of vegetables, without the use of any additives or artificial processing methods. Since its launch in 2020, TasteNrich®’s ingredients have been taken advantage of not only by the parent company CJ but also by numerous global meat alternative companies. FlavorNrich®, meanwhile, is a natural, vegan cysteine flavor solution: a world first.
In 1975, CJ CheilJedang began a journey with DASIDA that would help define the taste of home to millions of Koreans. Today, it is a global company, continuing to push boundaries in the field and leading new international trends with innovative products like Vegan DASIDA, TasteNrich® and FlavorNrich®. In doing so, it is bringing the joy of Korean food to consumers around the world – while never losing sight of the sense of home it built its legacy on.