SEOUL, Feb.23 (Korea Bizwire) – For the first time in the 27 years since convenience stores were introduced in Korea, sales of boxed lunches climbed to the top, exceeding sales of popular products such as alcohol and banana milk.
The increase in the number of one or two person households, which are the target consumers for the producers of convenience store lunches, boosted sales. The launch of new private brand (PB) boxed lunches representing the efforts of convenience stores to provide a ‘decent meal’ for their consumers was a huge helping hand.
Korea seems to be following a trend established in Japan, where one third of convenience store sales result from various foods including boxed lunches.
According representatives from convenience store chain CU, the product that topped the sales charts (excluding cigarettes) was the ‘Baek Jong-won Lunchbox’. Three other boxed lunch products ranked in the top 10, surprising industry analysts, as the items that were included in the top 10 were coffee drinks, beer, soju, and banana milk.
CU officials expressed their surprise at the tally. “Over the past 10 years, the most popular products were alcohol and banana flavored milk. So when the results came in, we thought there was an error in the statistics. Boxed lunches have never ranked No.1 in sales ever since convenience stores showed up in Korea.”
The launch of the ‘Baek Jong-won Lunchbox’ line is thought to have been the biggest driving force behind soaring boxed lunch sales. The products have received a positive response from consumers, pushing sales to jump 2.9 times higher than the same period last year. Other convenience foods such as gimbap and sandwiches also recorded a double-digit share (11.5 percent) of total sales. Officials commented that it was a very meaningful ‘incident’ that happened for the first time.
The ‘boxed lunch craze’ is also occurring at other convenience stores. ‘Hyeri Lunchboxes’ at Seven Eleven also entered the top 10 in sales. It was the first time a boxed lunch landed a position in the top 10.
Seven Eleven officials commented that total sales of boxed lunches jumped 3.1 times higher compared to the same period last year.
As the proportion of single-person households reached 27.1 percent in 2015, and is expected to grow to 31 percent in 2025, industry watchers commented that households of one or two people prefer to choose convenient foods to have a decent meal, without going through all the trouble of cooking or eating out.
With the new trend, businesses are competing to provide high quality meal-replacements that would provide a convenient meal to consumers.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)