CJ sells half its dumplings abroad

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CJ sells half its dumplings abroad

For the first time ever, over half of CJ CheilJedang’s dumpling sales came from abroad.

CJ’s food arm announced Wednesday that it sold a total of 637 billion won ($568 million) worth of mandu, or dumplings, last year. Some 342 billion won worth were sold overseas.

CJ CheilJedang, Korea’s largest food maker, now claims 9 percent of the 6 trillion won global dumpling market.

Sales of the company’s dumplings, especially its Bibigo-branded products, have grown fast over the past few years. Last year, the total was up 40 percent compared to 2017, and was nearly triple 2015 sales. More than half of last year’s global sales, or 240 billion won, were in the United States.

The dumpling maker credited the success there to its aggressive efforts to acquire local food companies and build overseas factories.

CJ currently operates three dumplings-making factories, in California, New York and New Jersey, and is planning to open up more facilities for dumpling production in the United States.

Last year, CJ CheilJedang acquired U.S. frozen food maker Schwan’s Company as well as Ohio-based Kahiki Foods, which are expected to connect CJ to extensive U.S. networks.

In Asian markets, the Korean wave and efforts to localize have helped win over fans. CJ sold 50 billion won worth of dumplings to China last year, a seven-fold increase since 2015. The company said it focused on promoting the healthy image of Korean food.

“In China, we emphasized that our dumplings were healthy and full of vegetables, as Chinese dumplings are known for their meatiness,” said a CJ spokesperson. “We also sold dumplings with ingredients commonly found in local dishes, like corn and cabbages.”

“In Vietnam, we were able to ride on the popularity of football coach Park Hang-seo,” he added.

Last year, CJ’s dumpling revenues in Vietnam were 20 billion won, 30 percent up from 2017.

The company said the advertising of Bibigo products at CJ-led sports and cultural events, like KCON, Mnet Asian Music Awards and the CJ Cup golf tournament, also helped raise brand awareness.

“We will try to become a world representative of Korean foods by leading the global K-mandu market,” said the spokesperson.

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]
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