SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – With demand for home meal replacements on the rise, meal kits are gaining popularity in South Korea.
Unlike ready-made meals that can be eaten after simply being warmed up in a microwave, meal kits consist of prepared ingredients and sauces that consumers must cook on their own.
According to data released by the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation on Wednesday, the home meal replacement (HMR) market has nearly tripled over the last few years, from 770 billion won in 2010 to 2.3 trillion won in 2016.
Similarly, meal kits are enjoying a growing level of popularity, particularly among single-person households and working parents, given their simple nature.
Meal kits allow people with a busy lifestyle to cook without the hassle of going grocery shopping and preparing ingredients.
With a wide range of meals available including exotic dishes such as gambas al ajillo, meal kits are also suitable for special occasions such as anniversaries and house parties.
Korea Yakult is among the few South Korean companies that are leading the meal kits market.
‘It’s On’ is a meal kit brand launched by Korea Yakult, which allows customers to order both side and main dishes including tteokbokki, chicken quesadillas and beef chopped steak, which are delivered by Yakult employees along with recipe cards.
GS Retail began its meal kit delivery service ‘Simply Cook’ last December, while SK Planet acquired meal kit start up Hello Nature last year.
The origins of the meal kit business can be traced back to New York in 2012 and startup company Blue Apron, which was well received by busy New Yorkers who find it difficult make time for grocery shopping.
The meal kit market in the U.S. was estimated at 1.7 trillion won last year.
“Meal kits allow people to save time spent grocery shopping and prepare the appropriate amount of food, which is an economic way of enjoying the fun experience of cooking. As consumer preferences are trending towards prioritizing freshness as well as taste, the market will only grow,” said Kim Dong-joo, the director of marketing at Korea Yakult.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)