Samlip sees fruits and salads as key to future

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Samlip sees fruits and salads as key to future

SPC Samlip, a subsidiary of SPC Group, is looking to salads and fruit bowls for future profit growth.

The company said Monday that it plans to develop a line of ready-to-eat food products and make 100 billion won ($89 million) in sales from the sector by 2020.

The plan first came up on Friday during CEO Lee Myung-koo’s speech to company employees in celebration of its 72nd anniversary.

“The market for fresh and ready-to-eat food like salad boxes and sliced fruit has infinite potential,” he said, “with an annual growth rate of at least 30 percent.”

The move is a bold one for Samlip, which has made packaged pastries its bread and butter since the company’s establishment in 1945. A company spokesman said the venture is part of Samlip’s initiative to diversify its products.

Under the brand name “Pig in the Garden,” Samlip plans to sell salad and fruit bowls at retail locations across the country, starting with SPC Group’s restaurant chains. The company spokesman said the products will be released before the end of the year, though he did not provide specific dates.

SPC Group recently expanded its food processing plant in Cheongju, North Chuncheong, where most ingredients for its franchises are processed. Lettuce, celery and tomatoes used in sandwiches sold at Paris Baguette, SPC Group’s bakery chain, are washed and cut there. The facility processes nearly 500 tons of fruits and vegetables a month, and is also responsible for producing dressing and juice.

Although the current focus is on processing ingredients, SPC Group plans to operate facilities for manufacturing consumer products, such as packaging.

Initial distribution of Pig in the Garden will start with SPC’s more than 6,000 food locations, including Paris Baguette and Dunkin’ Donuts. If business goes well, the company hopes to branch out to other retailers.

Ready-to-eat food products have been a recent trend in the retail industry as food companies see rising demand from single-person households that prefer to buy ready-to-eat meals rather than cook.

The consumer pattern follows a larger demographic trend of an aging population and younger Koreans postponing marriage.

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