CJ Cheil Jedang boosts grilled fish HMR production due to growing popularity

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 11, 2021, 11:22 Updated : March 11, 2021, 11:22

[Courtesy of CJ Cheil Jedang]

SEOUL -- CJ Cheil Jedang, a key subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, will go full throttle with the production of ready-to-eat grilled fish packages to cope with the growing popularity of home meal replacements, which are a convenient meal package requiring no comprehensive cooking processes.

Meal kits or heat-and-eat meal packages including ingredients and sauces became popular in South Korea in 2020 when people chose to cook at home instead of visiting crowded places such as restaurants and bars to avoid COVID-19 infection. Home meal replacement (HMR) products are a type of meal kit that can be consumed almost instantly after using a microwave oven.

CJ Cheil Jedang said in a statement on March 11 that it would expand the production of "Bibigo Grilled Fish," an HMR grilled fish product line, to increase output by more than 200 percent. The company would release more grilled fish menus using an upgraded production line.

"We have established a strategy to acquire production capabilities for various types of grilled fish in preparation for skyrocketing demand for HMR products," the company said. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, South Korea's HMR market was estimated at five trillion won ($4.3 billion) in 2020.

Grilled fish is a traditional home dining dish that has long been favored by Koreans. However, young generations do not like it as the menu requires a lot of effort to cook at home because of smoke and smell. Young working people do not have time to visit markets for fresh fish. The Bibigo Grilled Fish lineup has posted accumulated sales of 2.5 billion won ($21.9 million) since it was released 18 months ago.

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