BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CJCJ Food, Americas is announcing its commitment to leading growth in the frozen Asian food category, which represents an estimated $3.2 billion opportunity1 for food retailers in the United States. Among its U.S.-based affiliates, recent activities include launching a new merchandising model in the frozen aisle, establishing one portfolio of leading Asian food brands for retailers, introducing new products, and investing in long-term manufacturing capacity and capabilities.
CJCJ Food, Americas includes CJ CheilJedang’s U.S.-based food affiliates Schwan’s Company and CJ Foods USA Inc. The two companies offer many popular Asian food brands, including Bibigo®, Pagoda®, Kahiki® and Annie Chun’s®.
Today, the retail frozen Asian food category represents $1.66 billion in annual sales2 in the United States and is growing rapidly with consumers’ demand for more global flavors. According to IRI retail data, frozen Asian food brands are up 31 percent in the last 13 weeks ending on Jan. 24. This is significantly higher than the total frozen category, which has a reported 19 percent lift in the last 13 weeks. In addition, nearly one in three consumers say Asian food is what they crave and have missed most from restaurants during disruptions of the pandemic. 3
“Even as Asian foods see impressive growth and heightened demand, the category remains underdeveloped compared to other retail frozen categories,” said President of Schwan’s Consumer Brands Brian Schiegg. “Schwan’s and CJ Foods are creating an unmatched and authentic frozen Asian food portfolio and making investments that will help accelerate sales and enable long-term, sustainable growth for our customers in the frozen aisle and beyond.”
Across retail and foodservice in the United States, Asian food represents a $32 billion industry. CJCJ envisions that growing the retail frozen Asian category to 10 percent of the total Asian food market and helping build a $3.2 billion retail category for its retail customers.
“We are focusing on fully developing the category’s tremendous potential by supporting our customers with investments in merchandising, marketing, integration, service and manufacturing,” said Schiegg. “With more consumers looking to replicate restaurant-quality food experiences at home, we are excited to partner with retailers on building out an Asian food category with so much promise and growth.”
A New In-store Merchandising Model for Frozen Asian foods
While the category opportunity is well-defined, one obstacle for retail shoppers is the disarray of Asian foods across multiple locations in the frozen department.
Schwan’s new Asian DestinationSMmerchandising set is designed to bring all Asian-style food brands into a two-to-three-door section, making it easy for shoppers to find complete solutions for Asian meals. The company is working with multiple retailers to implement the model, which includes a proprietary category review process to highlight current opportunities for retailers within their frozen Asian food offerings. These opportunities include selling authentic Asian products and flavor profiles typically found only at specialty Asian markets.
“To make it easier for shoppers to explore and try new foods in this category, we are working with retailers to bring together the frozen Asian sub-categories into one destination,” said Ron Slominski, vice president of grocery sales and category management at Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc.
Asian Destination also includes innovative promotion and product mix and assortments, attracting shoppers’ attention through themed Asian-food endcaps or bundle deals with sauces, rice and noodles.
“We have seen Asian Destination pilots not only drive explosive Asian category sales growth, but also significant total frozen category growth. We expect the Asian Destination conversions to continue in 2021 as we introduce the concept across more retailers,” said Slominski.
Portfolio of Leading, Authentic Asian-style Food Brands Led by Bibigo
Another key initiative is the recent integration of CJ Foods USA Inc.’s Bibigo, Kahiki and Annie Chun’s frozen products into the sales and direct-store-delivery distribution (DSD) network of Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc., a subsidiary of Schwan’s Company. Combined with Schwan’s Pagoda brand, CJCJ Food, Americas is creating a complete portfolio for retailers to build-out their frozen Asian-style food offerings in freezer aisles.
“With our consolidated portfolio of leading brands and expanded capabilities under CJCJ, there now exists a strong category solution of high-quality, authentic Asian foods for retailers and consumers,” said Brad Smith, vice president of marketing for Schwan’s Company. “We are in the process of bringing this strategy to market with an emphasis on the Bibigo brand, which includes the introduction of several new products this year.”
Launched in January, new products include Bibigo Korean-Style Crunchy Chicken, available in Soy Garlic and Sweet & Spicy, and Bibigo Korean-Style Fried Rice, available in Shrimp with Soy Garlic Flavor, Chicken with Korean BBQ Flavor and Vegetables with Kimchi.
Bibigo is a global brand selling more than 100 frozen and shelf-stable products in 56 countries that has already demonstrated strong potential in the U.S. market, doubling in size from 2019 to 2020. With complex and layered flavors, Bibigo products combine modern and bold tastes with a time-honored Korean food philosophy designed to bring people together.
Others brands in the portfolio include the Pagoda brand, which will focus on targeting millennial consumers with bold mainstream flavors of snacks and appetizers; the Kahiki brand, which offers a range of multi-serve meals in popular mainstream flavors; and the Annie Chun’s brand, which provides a range of healthier shelf-stable and frozen options.
“We believe that our frozen Asian food portfolio, crafted with high-quality traditional ingredients, has the forms, flavors and brands to meet every consumer need, whether it be authentic tastes, mainstream options or healthier varieties,” said Smith.
Investing in Word-class Manufacturing Capacity & Capabilities
To grow the category and deliver profit potential for food retail customers, CJCJ Food, Americas is committed to becoming the leader in the frozen Asian food category. This includes investing in increased manufacturing capacity and capabilities that will meet retailer needs and consumer expectations for authentic, high-quality foods.
“In January, CJ Foods USA Inc. announced it is building a state-of-the-art Asian food production facility in Sioux Falls, S.D. With the support and expertise of South Korean parent company, CJ CheilJedang, the project will bring a state-of-the-art Asian food manufacturing capability to the U.S. This facility will create a variety of Asian food products, fueling sustained category growth and enabling future innovation to meet the increasing needs of retail and food-service customers.”
“We’re focused on leveraging the strengths of our parent company and its affiliates, as well as our shared culture of food innovation and category expertise to meet rising consumer demand for high-quality, authentic Asian meal solutions,” said Schiegg.
Learn more about Schwan’s Company and CJ Food USA Inc.’s initiatives in the frozen Asian food category here.
About CJCJ Food, Americas
CJCJ Food, Americas is made up of CJ CheilJedang’s U.S.-based affiliates Schwan’s Company and CJ Foods USA Inc. Together, Schwan’s Company and CJ Foods serve retail customers and foodservice operators across North America with many popular brands, including CJ Foods’ Bibigo and Annie Chun’s Asian style foods, and Schwan’s Company’s Red Baron®, Tony’sTM, Big Daddy’sTM, Villa Prima® and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts and Pagoda®, Minh® and Kahiki® Asian-style products. For more information about these companies, visit either www.schwanscompany.com or www.cjfoods.com.
1 IRI Unify Scan Data, U.S. MULO, Latest 26 Weeks Ending Aug. 9, 2020.
2 IRI Unify Scan Data, Latest 52 Weeks Ending Dec. 27, 2020.
3 Datassentials COVID-19 Report 17: The Next Phase 2020.