South Korea’s leading food brand “bibigo” is set to play the role of a K-food evangelist in the U.S. through Schwan's Company's distribution network.
Placing its products in one supermarket after another, bibigo has begun harnessing in earnest the synergies from CJ CheilJedang’s acquisition of Schwan’s Company.
▲ CJ CheilJedang's in-house Asian food brands available in the U.S.
On the 22nd, CJ CheilJedang announced that it had completed the construction of a system with which to utilize the sales network of Schwan's Company, which has grocery distribution channels throughout the U.S.
bibigo is currently building its reputation as a leading K-food brand principally with its dumpling products, which have held the number 1 position in market share in the U.S. market for the last five years. Prior to the acquisition of Schwan's Company, however, due to the Costco-centered distribution of its products, the brand had experienced a plateau in growth. Following the acquisition, by making use of Schwan's Company's distribution network, CJ CheilJedang placed bibigo products in an increasing number of stores in the U.S., from the country's leading distribution channels such as Walmart, Kroger and Target to small- and medium-sized supermarkets, such as Food City and HyVee. Having established a new distribution system, CJ CheilJedang expects in the future to offer its products to U.S. consumers at more than 30,000 stores across the country.
Through the merging of the R&D capabilities and sales know-how of the two companies, CJ CheilJedang plans to focus on fostering the growth of K-food.
▲ A consumer picks up a bibigo bibimbap product from the Asian food zone at a hypermarket in the U.S.
In particular, CJ CheilJedang focused on the Asian food market in the U.S., which includes K-food. Even though the popularity of Asian food in the U.S. is increasing by the day, there are still not many companies or brands that specialize in Asian food in the country. In fact, as of October this year, Schwan’s Company's sales for the Asian food category has increased by 22.5% compared to sales for the same period in 2018-19, and the figure is 2.5 times the growth rate of the whole frozen food industry.
Accordingly, in collaboration with Schwan's Company, CJ CheilJedang has, since early this year, been setting up at some stores an Asian food zone that features products from brands selling Asian style food — including the leading K-food brand bibigo, the Asian frozen food brand Kahiki and the Asian snack brand Pagoda — and is monitoring consumer reactions.
We will accelerate the achievement of our vision of becoming the world's No.1 food company by expanding the demand for Asian food in the U.S. market
In addition, CJ CheilJedang also plans to continuously expand its product portfolio of Asian food including Korean food through its collaboration with Schwan's Company. Specifically, the company plans to focus on strategic categories such as dumplings, pizza, and Hetbahn until next year and then to expand into the category of room temperature home meal replacements in 2020 in a bid to expand its U.S. business.
Schwan's Company's Consumer Brand Division head Julie Francis said, “Now that CJ CheilJedang's products are being supplied across the U.S. through Schwan’s Company's distribution network, both companies are to have greater opportunities than before. We expect that through the merging of CJ CheilJedang’s world-class R&D capabilities and know-how in food production and Schwan's Company’s sales ability, we will gain a clear competitive advantage in the frozen food market and will be able to accelerate the achievement of our vision of the world’s leading food company.”