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Organica acquires convenience food company

Producer of famous “Hyeri” lunch box will shift focus to fresh food

Herald Corp.’s organic food developer Organica has acquired convenience food producer Damyeon to expand its premium fresh food offerings, the company said Monday.

Damyeon is a supplier of food such as lunch boxes, triangle gimbap and sandwiches to major convenience store chains such as CU and 7-Eleven. Its best-known products include the Hyeri lunch box sold through 7-Eleven and the Baek Jong-won lunch box sold through CU. The company has forecasted 47 billion won ($39.7 million) in sales this year and more than 70 billion won next year.

Organica acquired a 100-percent stake in Damyeon, a prepackaged food producer that distributes its products through two of the three main convenience store chains here.

Organica Kitchen, previously Damyeon, in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province (Organica Kitchen)
Organica Kitchen, previously Damyeon, in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province (Organica Kitchen)

Damyeon, based in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province, will be renamed Organica Kitchen in January. It will shift its focus to create healthy premium fresh food in line with Organica’s principles of preserving natural flavors and nutrients in its products. 

The acquisition will give Organica wider capacity to develop new categories of products and expand its consumer reach by helping it enter the convenience store food industry. 

The market for convenience store lunch boxes was valued at 200 billion won last year and it is estimated to reach 500 billion won this year.

“Food sold through convenience stores is the core of food culture in single-member households,” said Herald Corp. Chairman Jungwook Hong, vowing to “upgrade convenience foods from fast food to delicious and healthy fresh food, following Organica’s strict standards for producing natural, eco-friendly whole foods.”

Kwon Chung-won, the newly appointed CEO of Organica Kitchen, said that he would “work endlessly with leading distributors such as CU and 7-Eleven to develop new products and improve production efficiency and quality to become a competitive fresh food company.”

Damyeon is the fourth acquisition by Organica since the company was founded in 2013. Previously, Organica had acquired the eco-friendly grain company Cheonbo Natural Food, as well as a CJ CheilJedang beverage factory and an organic vegetable supply facility. 

Lunch boxes made by Organica Kitchen for CU and 7-Eleven (Organica Kitchen)
Lunch boxes made by Organica Kitchen for CU and 7-Eleven (Organica Kitchen)

Organica, an affiliate of Herald Corp., is a natural food company that produces nutritious, organic and whole foods. Its lineup includes eco-friendly grains, vegetables and nuts as well as detoxing cleanse juices and natural snacks, and fresh foods like salads and lunch boxes. Organica’s products are sold in department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and coffee franchises, and are also exported to Japan and China. The company has forecasted annual sales of 100 billion won, three years after its founding.

As a forerunner in Korea’s premium whole food industry, Organica is partnered with the Korean arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature and has provided support for ecosystem conservation and reducing the effects of climate change. 

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)
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