South Korea’s CJ Group has joined the race among food and retail conglomerates to capitalize on the burgeoning demand for meal kits in Korea due to increased single-living households and working couples.
A senior official from CJ Group said Thursday that it will start the meal kit business backed by fresh food supply, marketing, and logistics chain of CJ Freshway Corp., CJ Cheiljedang Corp. and CJ Logistics Corp. It is expected to release meal kit products around early next year after completing development of an app through which consumers can place orders, he added.
Meal kit is a package of pre-proportioned food ingredients and recipes for a single meal. The market is expanding rapidly with a growing number of single household and dual-income families who want to have home-cooked meals but save cooking time.
Korea Yakult`s `eats ON` and Hyundai Department Store`s `Chef Box` meal kit. [Photo by each company]
CJ Freshway, a food distributor, will be in charge of supplying food ingredients, while CJ Cheiljedang will be responsible for merchandising and marketing and CJ Logistics for early morning delivery.
The group has been testing out samples on its employees at its online shopping mall CJ On Mart after launching a task force team early this year. It introduced Korean food such as Bulgogi and Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew) in the first stage of the testing, and expanded the menu to Japanese, Thai and Spanish food in the second stage.
Meal kit has been emerging as a new food trend around the world. The U.S. meal kit market established in 2012 with the launch of the first meal kit brand Blue Apron is now worth $2.2 billion. Korea Yakult Co., GS Retail Co. and Hyundai Department Store Co. already have meal kit labels in the market.
By Lee Yoon-jae and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]