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CJ eyes global expansion for K-street food products

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 2, 2024 - 15:10

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Some of Bibigo's K-street food products, including tteokbokki, fried seaweed rolls and fried mandu (CJ CheilJedang) Some of Bibigo's K-street food products, including tteokbokki, fried seaweed rolls and fried mandu (CJ CheilJedang)

Korean food giant CJ CheilJedang's Bibigo brand has set a target of 35 billion won ($26 million) in domestic sales this year for its K-street food products, after observing considerable sales momentum in the market in 2023, according to the firm on Tuesday.

Among Bibigo's K-street food offerings, its bungeoppang products, or fish-shaped waffles, achieved monthly domestic sales of 1 billion won for both November and December. Launched in August, the bungeoppang series currently boasts red bean, cream and sweet corn-filled varieties.

Despite being exclusively distributed through Shinsegae's three shopping platforms -- E-Mart, SSG and G-market -- the bungeoppang selection rapidly gained popularity within two months of its debut, with approximately 250,000 units sold.

As for the global market, Bibigo's tteokbokki products, or spicy rice cakes, are currently being exported to 27 countries, including the US, Vietnam and Singapore. Since last June, CJ CheilJedang has been strategically targeting local markets and online malls in these countries. In November, through a strategic partnership with the prominent Australian convenience store chain EzyMart, the product also made its entry into the Australian market.

In the Japanese market, Bibigo's frozen gimbap series achieved impressive sales of over 200,000 units in its first month following its release in March. The packaged frozen gimbap series navigated its way through more than 2,000 mainstream distribution channels in Japan and secured a prominent place in the country's leading supermarket retail chain, Aeon.

Notably, CJ CheilJedang has identified Bibigo's K-street food products as the sector for cultivating next-generation K-foods and new growth engines for global expansion. Within this sector, the company focuses on six key products: tteokbokki, Korean-style hot dogs, gimbap, fried seaweed rolls, bungeoppang and hotteok, a type of filled pancake.

"We are receiving a very positive response from global consumers who have experienced Bibigo's K-street food, and our sales are continuously growing," said Kim Sook-jin, head of CJ CheilJedang's Bibigo brand. Kim emphasized the brand's dedication to spreading Korean street food culture abroad with products recognized for their distinctive taste and quality.