South Korean food company CJ CheilJedang Corp. proudly revealed on Monday that their cumulative sales for frozen rice products, produced and distributed in the United States, have reached a remarkable 100 billion won ($74 million) for the current year. Furthermore, they anticipate this figure to surge beyond 130 billion won ($96 million) by the year’s end.
The surge in sales coincides with the company’s revenue tripling over the past four years, a growth trajectory that began when they acquired Schwan’s Company in 2019. This acquisition enabled them to establish a comprehensive nationwide cold chain distribution system in the United States.
Among their leading offerings are “Chicken with Korean BBQ Flavor,” “Vegetables with Kimchi,” and “Shrimp with Soy Garlic Flavor” fried rice, among other options. These delectable products are manufactured at Schwan’s Vermont facility and distributed through prominent retail outlets like Walmart, Kroger, and Target.
The success of CJ CheilJedang’s frozen rice products in the US market can be attributed to their skillful adaptation of Korean food culture to suit the preferences of local consumers. The company has enriched the most favored fried rice varieties in the US, such as chicken, vegetables, and shrimp, by infusing them with Korean BBQ sauce, kimchi, garlic, and various other flavors.
Another contributing factor to this success is the growing consumption of rice-based processed foods in the United States. According to export data on rice-processed foods collected by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs last year, the US led the way with a remarkable 28.2% year-on-year surge in export value, claiming the largest share of this increase.
The sales of CJ CheilJedang’s frozen rice products, produced in South Korea and shipped to international markets, have experienced substantial growth. Over the past three years (2021-2023), the company’s frozen rice export value has consistently expanded at an average rate of 22% annually. Notably, the number of countries to which they export has grown from a mere seven in 2017 to a total of 17, now including nations like Taiwan and Vietnam.
Going forward, CJ CheilJedang is set to intensify the distribution of its frozen rice products within pivotal countries’ major mainstream retail networks. As an example, in Australia, “Kimchi Cheese Rice Balls” will be accessible to consumers at Costco outlets starting this month.
“Considering the increasing popularity of K-food in the United States, we are making efforts to disseminate Korean food culture, such as creating a separate ‘Asian Food Zone’ in stores,” a CJ CheilJedang source said. “Following the success of dumplings in the US, we will focus on nurturing the processed rice category, including frozen rice, as the next-generation global strategic item.”