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CJ CheilJedang seeks to expand K-food territory

Roadmap for CJ Cheiljedang's expansion of overseas food business (CJ Cheiljedang)
Roadmap for CJ Cheiljedang's expansion of overseas food business (CJ Cheiljedang)

One of South Korean food giant CJ CheilJedang's new year's resolutions appears to be to make an active foray into the global market.

The food conglomerate recently said it is slated to accelerate its expansion of "K-Food Global Territory" by making inroads into previously unexplored markets.

"We will make a fully fledged entry into countries that we have not tapped yet and achieve growth with seven global strategic products," said Choi Eun-seok, CEO of CJ CheilJedang.

The products that CJ CheilJedang have selected to target foreign markets with include dumplings, processed rice, chicken, Korean traditional sauces, kimchi, seaweed and rolls.

With its products, the company said it will enter a total of five new countries, including Canada, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The company plans to target the Canadian market with traditional Asian foods such as dumplings and processed rice, as these products have been seeing strong sales in the US -- a market the company deems similar to Canada's. The company is also planning on securing production bases in the country.

For Australia, with the country having strict rules on importing food products with meat in them, CJ CheilJedang said it plans to directly establish a base for dumpling production in the region and push for entry into local distribution channels.

The company is further planning on making aggressive inroads into Thailand, with the country being geographically close to CJ CheilJedang's production facility in Vietnam. The Vietnam facility is responsible for an annual production of some 60,000 metric tons of foodstuffs, including both refrigerated and frozen products.

"Given that Thailand is a hub largely responsible for the spread of K-culture, the company plans to focus on increasing awareness of Bibigo brand products (in the country) by actively utilizing K-content such as KCON and MAMA," said an official from CJ CheilJedang in a press release.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, the food giant is planning to secure new local production bases and have them become foundation stones for the company's establishment of a K-halal territory, which will encompass not only Southeast Asian countries but also countries in the Middle East.

CJ CheilJedang posted sales of 3.77 trillion won in the third quarter of last year, with sales of global food products growing 19.4 percent year-on-year. Its sales of global food had accounted for 46 percent of the company's total sales.

"There was a time when a US food sales representative (of CJ CheilJedang) had to leave a message more than 10 times to meet someone from large distributor such as Costco. However, with Korean food products constantly logging strong sales, that is not the case anymore," said an official from CJ CheilJedang.

"We attribute our strategy to target overseas distributors as reasons for our strong sales. For example, by acquiring Schwan's, the second-largest frozen food company in the US, we gained access to more than 30,000 stores there. Last year, Schwan's surpassed Japanese food maker Ajinomoto to become the number one Asian food retailer in the US, " she added.

Aggressive research and development was pinpointed as another reason behind CJ CheilJedang's successful foray into global market.

"Research and development processes to study local taste preferences also played a great role in popularizing our brand overseas," the official said.

Meanwhile, a study by Seoul-based Kyung Hee University on Dec. 25, 2022 estimated that people around the world spend an annual average of 87 trillion won ($69 billion) on consuming Korean food.



By Lee Yoon-seo (yoonseo.3348@heraldcorp.com)
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