Vegan gimbap now at convenience stores near you

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Vegan gimbap now at convenience stores near you

 
A model poses for a photo with CU's vegan products. [BGF RETAIL]

A model poses for a photo with CU's vegan products. [BGF RETAIL]

 
Sohn Joo-hui, 26, a university student in Seoul, often visits convenience stores to grab some vegan food these days.
 
"I'm not a vegan but like to eat vegan food since it's known to be good for health," Sohn said. "Convenience stores offer various options. They taste good and are also very convenient to consume."
 
With vegan food becoming popular, convenience stores are scrambling to come up with items that are vegan in an effort to meet growing demand.
 
Last month, CU started selling a tuna mayonnaise gimbap targeting vegans.
 
"We developed vegan tuna, which tastes similar to regular tuna, but is made with beans instead of fish, and mixed it with vegan mayonnaise," said a spokesperson for CU.
 
The gimbap is available as regular gimbap or a triangular samgak gimbap. Vegan tuna mayonnaise fried tofu rice balls are also available. The regular gimbap is sold for 3,000 won ($2.54) and the samgak gimbap for 1,300 won.
 
The convenience store has also come up with Jeonju Bibim samgak gimbap, which comes with gochujang (hot pepper paste) sauce mixed with plant-based meat alternatives. It retails for 1,300 won.  
 
 
CU's vegan products [BGF RETAIL]

CU's vegan products [BGF RETAIL]

 
"Previously, I had to find expensive restaurants to have vegan meals," 25-year-old Kim Soo-min said. "But now I can easily find them in convenience stores. It's very comfortable."
 
The sale of vegan products at CUs in the January-to-October period rose 53.2 percent on year. On Pocket CU, a CU app, the top two items in the samgak gimbap category were vegan products Dec. 1 through Dec. 8, with vegan tuna mayonnaise samgak gimbap topping the list followed by vegan Jeonju Bibim samgak gimbap.  
 
"The vegan products, which were first released in order to satisfy a certain group of people, went viral and have been gaining popularity from both vegans and general customers," said Kim Yoo-kyeong, a merchandiser at BGF Retail, the operator of CU.
 
The company found that 75 percent of people who bought vegan products also bought non-vegan products.
 
GS25 also introduced various products like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and potato chips made with vegan materials.
 
Its sales of vegan products this year through July jumped 18-fold on year.
 
"Vegan products like chips are very well liked by vegans, as well as general customers who wish to consume healthy food," said Jeong Byeong-su, a merchandiser at GS Retail, the operator of GS25.

BY SARAH CHEA, LEE HYUN-JUNG [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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