CJ CheilJedang makes home-cooked meals a little easier

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CJ CheilJedang makes home-cooked meals a little easier


Kim Gyeong-yeon, left, a sales executive at CJ CheilJedang’s online business unit, introduces CJ CheilJedang’s Cookit meal kit, right. [CJ CHEILJEDANG]

Korea’s largest food company CJ CheilJedang has made it a little bit easier to cook quality food at home with the launch of its new Cookit meal kits.

The Cookit meal kits, released today, provide a set of partially-prepared ingredients that customers can cook at home without much difficulty, according to CJ.

“We decided to launch the meal kit business to lead the rapidly growing meal kit market and strengthen the home meal replacement business, which is a key growth engine for the future [food industry],” said Kim Gyeong-yeon, sales executive at CJ CheilJedang’s online business unit, at a press event held in central Seoul on Tuesday. “Cookit provides ingredients that have already been thoroughly washed and trimmed and provides the amounts that are necessary to cook a certain dish, thereby taking away the burden of having to throw away unused ingredients. Consumers just have to experience the joy of cooking and enjoy delicious food.”

Cookit is CJ CheilJedang’s existing meal kit brand. It has previously only offered products based on processed ingredients like potato pancakes and okonomiyaki (Japanese-style pancakes).

There are 15 different dishes initially offered in the range, following recipes prepared by experienced chefs. They range from Korean food like seafood soft tofu stew and cheese-topped spicy stir-fried chicken to foreign cuisine like gambas (Spanish-style shrimp). Ingredients are pre-prepared by qualified chefs. According to CJ, preparing for a meal with Cookit will only take eight minutes, reducing the time people spend to prepare a single meal by fivefold.

A slew of other CJ affiliates have joined the Cookit project. CJ Freshway, a food distribution and catering affiliate, will provide ingredients while CJ ONmart, an online shopping channel, will distribute the products. CJ Logistics will ensure Cookit is delivered at dawn. The dawn delivery service currently only covers the capital, but the company plans to expand it nationwide by the end of the year.

To use the dawn delivery service, customers will need to order the product by 7 a.m. the previous day, unlike other similar services which can take orders until late into the evening. This is because the kit needs to be pre-cooked by chefs, according to CJ.

Existing meal kit brands include GS Retail’s Simply Cook, Hyundai Department Store’s Chef Box and Hanwha Galleria’s Gourmet 494.

“The domestic meal kit market is valued at around 200 trillion won ($18 million), but CJ expects the market to grow twofold to 400 trillion won by the end of the year and to 700 billion won in the next five years,” said Kim.

CJ plans to expand its Cookit range to cater to single-person households and export it to take advantage of the popularity of Korean food overseas.The United States is a major leader in the meal kit market. According to market research firm Packaged Facts, sales in the United States grew from 150.1 billion won in 2013 to 3.534 trillion won last year. Japan also saw a huge leap over the past years, with sales jumping from 117.2 billion won to 885.9 billion won last year, according to CJ. The average price of a Cookit meal kit, which is for two to three people, is 20,000 won.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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