Expansion of the Meal Kit Delivery Industry in Korea|Trend and Business

Along with world trends of meal kit industry, this is how Gyeonggi-do, Korea proceeds "meal kit" delivery market system, improving local businesses.

Meal kit

From baby boomers to millennials, these days an increasing number of people live in single-person households. The increasing popularity of new ways of cooking could be attributed to the people’s busy lifestyles, the difficulty of managing fresh groceries for one person, or the lock-down and social distancing necessitated by the current pandemic. Regardless, among the new food trends, meal kit delivery brings together opportunities for healthy eating, fun, and self-improvement.

Over the past decade, Korea has seen a steep rise in the number of single-person households; they have become the most common household type. On top of that, Koreans are known for their busy lifestyles, which is one of the reasons why convenience food and 24/7 food delivery have flourished.

‘Meal kit delivery’ refers to various types of food kits — sometimes with partially prepared ingredients — that are delivered to subscribers with easy to follow recipes. They have become popular among consumers because they eliminate the hassle of meal preparation while still offering the joy of having home-cooked meals. This new and innovative business model has quickly gained popularity all around the world.

As Korea’s need for new meal prepping solutions increases, the meal kit delivery industry offers the potential for exciting new businesses that can also promote demand for local agriculture.

Overseas Meal Kit Trends

Meal kits were first introduced to the Swedish market in 2007 to help the families enjoy home-cooked meals without having to plan, shop, and prepare the ingredients in advance. The concept grew in popularity in Europe and found its way to the United States where now well-known brands such as Blue Apron began to grow by 2012 and underwent massive growth by 2016.

Meal kit businesses is growing in Europe and the United States

While many were concerned that the industry would not survive long due to factors such as the business model — which was perceived by some as a gateway for people into cooking — the industry has continued to grow. In addition, demand has furtherexpanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a renaissance for theindustry.

Meal kitbusinesses leverage their services by catering to different demands and niches, offering options that are generally considered healthy. For example, they make fresh vegetable intake easier. The success of the business model is tied to changes in eating habits among millennials. According to Grand View Research, the global meal kit delivery market will see an annual growth rate of 12.8% between 2020 to 2027.

As supplying healthy and fresh food is costly and has logistical difficulties, investors remain concerned about the industry’s future. However, demand for meal kit delivery services remains high. After the end of the pandemic, it’ll be the changes in customer behavior that will shape its future.

South Korean Meal Kit Delivery Market Trends

In 2020, mealkit delivery services in Korea reported significant year-on-year sales growth. While these services saw a rapid increase in popularity during 2019, the COVID-19 crisis has also been a propelling factor that feuled demand for convenient and healthy home cooking. South Korea is currently observing the heyday of its meal kit delivery market; the market, which was worth KRW 40 billion in 2019, is estimated to grow into a KRW 700 billion market by 2024.

According to the companies, their customers enjoy the luxury of hot, freshly made meals at home. Some of the services have adopted innovative measures such as offering a variety of meal recipe types (including Korean, Western, Chinese, and Japanese recipes) and some have even introduced meals in collaboration with popular restaurants that recreate the tastes of their most popular meals.

Gyeonggi-do Meal Kit Industry Plans & the Agriculture Sector

In May, the Gyeonggi Research Institute published a paper on the post-COVID-19 state of agriculture, offering overviews and suggestions for future strategies. Among the suggested strategies was support for agricultural packages such as onlinemeal kit sales as well as semi-prepared food kits.

Gyeonggi-do residents can benefit from receiving a variety of fresh and healthy ingredients that minimize the time spent on preparing meals; the meal kits also offer a pleasurable activity for the homebound public. This year, meal kit purchases among people in their 50s have been very high. Due to COVID-19, the demand for simple homemade food has increased among local residents of all ages.

Meal kits are different from another trend known as ‘home meal replacement (HMR)’ that offers instant meals using preservatives to lengthen the shelf life of the food. Usually, meal kit ingredients are fresh or frozen and, as a result, tend to have short shelf lives. Both trends will add to consumer convenience and perhaps complement each other at times, but whereas the popularity of HMR is attributable to instant preparation, meal kit delivery enjoys popularity with South Korea’s health-conscious public.

Gyeonggi-do is planning to develop an environment that will help the meal kit industry thrive while guaranteeing safety and health standards. Safety and reliability are integral to the food industry in general, but the expectations are higher with the meal kit industry, which leverages its services as a healthier option.

Food delivery in Gyeonggi-do
Gyeonggi-go is planning to implement policies to improve local meal kit businesses

The Gyeonggi-do Bureau of Agriculture and Maritime Affairs has announced plans to implement policies that improve the competitiveness of local meal kit businesses. The bureau will help establish a distribution system that delivers healthy and environment-friendly, locally produced food to consumers.

The GyeonggiAgroFood Institute has taken a different approach to help the development of meal kits. Last July, they held the first Gyeonggi Environment-Friendly Family Simple-Meal Show where data on local resident preferences and needs was collected and will be put to use in the formulation of policies and strategies for the local food industry.



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Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도): Expansion of the Meal Kit Delivery Industry in Korea|Trend and Business
Expansion of the Meal Kit Delivery Industry in Korea|Trend and Business
Along with world trends of meal kit industry, this is how Gyeonggi-do, Korea proceeds "meal kit" delivery market system, improving local businesses.
Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도)
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