S. Korean food maker provides plant-based dumplings to grocery stores in US military bases 

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 1, 2024, 14:43 Updated : May 1, 2024, 17:20
Courtesy of CJ Cheiljedang
[Courtesy of CJ Cheiljedang]

SEOUL, April 01 (AJU PRESS) - South Korea's major food company CJ Cheiljedang will sell plant-based dumplings at grocery stores within the United States military bases in South Korea. The plant-based products, designed for easy microwave cooking, are included in Cheiljedang's premium ready-to-cook product brand "Bibigo."

When supplying vegan dumplings to the U.S. military bases, the company has been using meat produced in the U.S. "Because the U.S. has strict regulations regarding foot-and-mouth diseases, all meat produced outside of the U.S. must be government-certified," Cheiljedang's communications manager Jeong Da-woon told Aju Press on Thursday. She said Cheiljedang procured meat from Schwan's Company, a Minnesota-based frozen food manufacturer acquired by Cheiljedang in 2019.

Cheiljedang said its plant-based dumpling brand will be available at multiple U.S. military bases on the Korean peninsula. The brand features three different products, including a dumpling filled with Japchae, a Korean stir-fried noodle dish with beef and various vegetables, and kimchi, Korean-style pickled vegetables. Due to security reasons, the food provider has not disclosed the locations of U.S. military bases where they will be supplying vegan dumplings. 

About 28,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in South Korea technically at war with North Korea. Military bases are located in several regions including Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Seoul, the southern industrial city of Daegu, and Seoul's central district of Yongsan. 

The South Korean food manufacturer plans to expand the sale of its alternative meat products to commissaries in other U.S. military bases, including those in Guam and Japan. "Gaining access to grocery stores within U.S. military bases is much more difficult than conventional export routes," said CheilJedang's plant-based food business division manager Lee Jung-chan. Lee said the company invested an enormous amount of effort for a year, including hosting food-tasting events. 

According to data released by market research firm Statista, the global plant-based meat market which stood at $10.11 billion in 2022 is projected to reach $33.9 billion in 2027. Cheiljedang is selling its vegan dumplings in more than 30 countries including Britain, Australia, Singapore, and India.
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