Yoon Duk-byung, chairman of Korea Yakult, who pioneered Korea's first lactic-acid fermented milk market, died of old age on June 26. He is 92 years old.
Yoon was born in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, in 1927 and graduated from Konkuk University in political science and diplomacy. He established Korea Yakult in 1969 and led the company for 50 years.
Yoon is a pioneer of the fermented milk industry, which has grown lactic-acid fermented milk into a representative health drink in the Korean lactobacillus market, which was almost barren. In 1971, it produced and sold "Yakurt" for the first time in Korea.
In the late 1960s, Yoon started the lactic-acid fermented milk business based on the start-up concept of "health society construction," thinking that the future of the nation's livestock industry will depend on the milk processing industry, and chose door-to-door sales as a way of selling it. In order to create jobs for women, it introduced the "Yakurt aunt" system for housewives.
In 1976, he founded the Central Research Institute for the first time in the food industry. The Central Research Institute developed its own lactobacillus 20 years after its establishment, opening an era of localization of lactobacillus, and has so far established itself as a mecca of lactobacillus research, which represents the local food industry.
Yoon had no qualms about projects to support children and youths. "When we help our neighbors in general, this world will get warmer," he usually said, visiting places that are alienated, such as nursing homes and nurseries.
Yoon also focused his efforts on fostering talent by establishing a scholarship foundation. In December 2010, he established the Woodok Scholarship Foundation, which provides academic funding to children from low-income families, and has so far offered scholarships to students.
In recognition of his efforts to practice generous sharing for his neighbors, he received the Order of the National Medal of Merit in 1988, the Award for Public Service in the Health Awards in 2002 and the Korea Employers' Association's most respected entrepreneur award in 2008.