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CJ CheilJedang Goes Beyond the U.S. for Europe The Food Company Goes Into Full Gear to Expand Its Presence in the Continent’s Food Market


CJ CheilJedang Goes Beyond the U.S. for Europe

▶ At a meeting held in Frankfurt, Germany, the senior management including CEO Choi Eun-seok discusses the company’s mid-to-long term strategy for CJ CheilJedang Europe.

The Company Will Leverage the Secrets Behind the Success of Bibigo Mandu in the U.S. To Penetrate the Processed Food Market in Europe

CJ CheilJedang is in full gear to expand its presence in Europe based on its experience in the successful marketing of its Bibigo Mandu in the U.S. market.

The food company said on the 5th that during its meeting to discuss the mid-to-long term growth strategy for the European market, it set up a goal of increasing its food sales in the continent to 500 billion won by 2027 based on the company’s global strategic products (GSP) including mandu, processed rice and Korean style chicken. It also plans to go beyond the K-food market to the Asian food market in the continent, aiming to be the leader in the wrapped food category, including mandu, rolls and dim sum.

To this end, the company launched a UK entity last May as a platform for the penetration of the European market and secured production capacity including German frozen food maker Mainfrost acquired in 2018 and the plant in Kizuna, Vietnam, which was opened earlier this year as the company's first Global to Global model.

“A Quantum Jump Strategy Is Needed for Europe as Our Global Strategy Cannot Be Complete Without It,” Says CEO Choi at the Mid-To-Long Term Strategy Meeting

“Our global strategy can never be complete without Europe. A quantum jump strategy is required” says Choi Eun-seok, CEO of CJ CheilJedang. “I saw tremendous potential looking at consumers picking up Bibigo products in hypermarkets in London and Paris, and members of our European entities showed strong passion and commitment towards our goal of becoming a global leader.”

Introduction of Large Mandu Products and More Channels Carrying the Company’s Global Strategic Products Have Contributed to Higher Brand Awareness of Bibigo

Since its entry into the European market with, among other things, Bibigo Mandu in 2018, CJ CheilJedang has grown by an average of over 38 percent every year for the last 4 years (2018-2021). The sales this year are expected to reach around 60 billion won, 4.5 times as much as it was four years ago. The growth is impressive for a beginner in the market, but Europe is not easy to penetrate because it consists of different countries with different dietary cultures and distribution channels already have advanced technology to produce processed food. On the other hand, it provides opportunities as it has a highly developed ready meal market, especially in the United Kingdom, which is wealthier and more open to other cultures.

The company's initial focus will be placed on enlarging the Korean mandu market using, for a start, Bibigo Mandu, which has relatively higher awareness among local consumers. The next step will be to diversify the product lineup to include mandu that contains chicken, which is more familiar to Europeans, and products that have proven successful in the U.S. Fully plant based Bibigo mandu products will be newly launched in the third quarter targeting vegetarians. In addition, the company's global strategic products including processed rice and Korean sauces will be used to penetrate the ready meal market.

Efforts will also be made to give local consumers opportunities to experience K-food and raise awareness of the Bibigo brand. The company will market its Bibigo products through collaborations with a wide range of local platform service providers and collect data on trends among consumers to gain insight into its new products.

In parallel, the company will focus on extending its brand awareness to other Korean food products including kimchi and Korean sauces. In the second part of the year, the company will seek opportunities to market its more popular global strategic products, including Korean style chicken and processed rice, through local distribution channels. Gim (seaweed) will be used to penetrate the local healthy snack market by launching products that contain gim to suit the European tastes.

The Company Is Also Ready to Expand Into the Southeast Asian Food Market and, if Needed, Acquire Local Businesses With Distribution Channels and Infrastructure

The company will also seek more opportunities to expand its presence in the Asian food market. Southeast Asian style rolls (e.g. spring rolls, egg rolls) are more popular among Europeans than Korean mandu. CJ CheilJedang plans to launch differentiated products into the European market based on its mandu know-how and its capability with Southeast Asian rolls built up from the acquisition of Schwan’s Company of the U.S. and Cau Tre of Vietnam. The company’s goal is to become a leading supplier of Asian foods, including Korean, in Europe. Acquisitions of local food businesses with the distribution channels and infrastructure needed will be considered, depending on the local situation.

“Contrary to the public knowledge that Korean food is not popular in Europe, market opportunities are increasing with the rising interest in Asian food and K-culture,” says one representative from CJ CheilJedang. “Under the commitment of Chairman Lee Jay-hyun for the globalization of Korean dietary culture, we will leverage the Bibigo brand to let Europeans know good things about Korean food as we have done in the U.S. and become the leading Asian food company in the region.”