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CJ CheilJedang to expand plant-based sales to W200b by 2025

Chung Hyun-hak, head of strategy and planning at CJ CheilJedang, speaks during a press conference held at CJ human resources building in Jung-gu, Central Seoul on Monday. (CJ CheilJedang)
Chung Hyun-hak, head of strategy and planning at CJ CheilJedang, speaks during a press conference held at CJ human resources building in Jung-gu, Central Seoul on Monday. (CJ CheilJedang)

South Korean food giant CJ CheilJedang will boost its overseas and domestic sales of plant-based meat products to 200 billion won ($151.9 million) by 2025, the company said on Monday.

“The US and European countries including the UK and Germany, and Japan, which show increasing demand for Korean food and culture, will be our key target markets. We also plan to make forays into China, Singapore and other southeast Asian countries, expanding global business to account for 70 percent of total sales,” said Chung Hyun-hak, head of strategy and planning at CJ CheilJedang, during a press conference.

Chung stressed that the company’s plant-based products will provide great business opportunities for Korea, since the country’s meat exports are banned due to infectious diseases in animals such as foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu.

CJ CheilJedang forecasts the global market size for plant-based processed meals and ready meals to grow from 7.4 trillion won to 35 trillion won in 10 years. The domestic market size is estimated to be around 11.1 billion won and projected to reach 100 billion won in the cited period.

The global vegan food trend is driven by greater demand for lifestyles that prioritize health and wellness; eco-friendly and sustainable food culture; and animal welfare, according to Chung.

“In terms of sustainability, plant-based meat production contributes to carbon neutrality. For instance, 20 to 90 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released in producing 100 grams of beef, whereas as much as 10 kilograms (of carbon dioxide) comes from making alternative meat,” said Yoon Hyo-jung, director of the science and technology department at CJ CheilJedang’s research lab.

Despite its merits, many consumers say the taste and texture of plant-based meat needs to be improved, according to Yoon.

Yoon said CJ CheilJedang has developed a high-quality Textured Vegetable Protein which offers a firm meat-like texture, even after being cooked at high temperatures. The company’s alternative meat also has a juicy flavor using natural flavoring ingredients.

In a move to further improve the quality of its alternative meat, the company plans to develop clean-label food products with minimal artificial additives, and also boost investments in local and global food technology startups, Yoon said. “Also, we will accelerate research and development in fermented protein to offer plant-based products at lower prices.”

This month, CJ CheilJedang launched four new food products under its vegan brand PlantTable: meatballs, tteokgalbi (beef patties), bulgogi rice balls and Jeonju bibim rice balls. Its latest editions of vegan food products will soon be introduced to global consumers as well, the company said.

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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