Meal kits, also known as home meal replacement (HMR) products, are convenient heat-and-eat food packages that provide processed ingredients and seasonings designed for quick and easy consumption. They are favored by students and workers who lack time to have breakfast or dinner and single households who do not feel the need to cook. Using a stove or a microwave oven, consumers can easily complete the dish just by following simple cooking instructions.
Demands for meal kits have been on the rise since South Korea was battered by a COVID-19 pandemic that sent many people avoiding crowded supermarkets or shopping malls. According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, the domestic market for meal kits has increased by about 85 percent in 2020 reaching 188.2 billion won ($150 million), compared to 2019. The market is projected to reach 700 billion won by 2025.
Fresheasy said in a statement that the company teamed up with Emart Everyday to develop new meal kit products and carry out marketing projects. As of September 2022, Emart Everyday had a total of 261 supermarkets. "To showcase more HMR products and RMR (restaurant meal replacement) products, we signed a business agreement with Emart Everyday," Fresheasy CEO Jeong Jung-gyo said in a statement on January 9.
Various types of meal kit products were released by domestic companies including Emart. In 2021, seafood company Dongwon Industries has showcased a seafood meal kit using salmon, slices of raw tuna and octopus. A meal kit brand called Good food is currently running meal kit shops at five subway stations in Seoul. Busy commuters can grab many different meal kit products including Tteokbokki, a finger-sized rice cake simmered in fiery-red spicy chili sauce, soybean paste stew and kimchi stew.
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