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Food companies see massive growth in wake of COVID-19

Demand for ready-made home meals, instant noodles tow sales growth

Aug. 19, 2020 - 16:19 By Jo He-rim

South Korean food companies scored massive sales growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the demands increased for products that can be consumed at homes, in both domestic and overseas markets.

In the second quarter this year, CJ CheilJedang recorded an operating profit of 384.9 billion won, up 119.5 percent from the same time last year. The figure is the biggest quarterly figure recorded for the company.

Its sales stood at 6.92 trillion won, increasing by 7.4 percent on-year, with the net profit soaring 300.1 percent to land at 158 billion won.

CJ CheilJedang attributed to the increased sales in its ready-made products and also overseas sales for its performance. According to the company, its sales went up 19 percent in the United States, 24 percent in Vietnam and 35 percent in China.

Orion, a leading snacks company here, also witnessed a record-high operating profit in the first half of this year, of 183.2 billion won, up 43.5 percent on-year. The sales stood at 515.1 billion won, increasing by 17.3 percent.

The company also did well overseas, witnessing a growth rate of 17 percent in operating profit of overseas branches in countries including China, Vietnam and Russia, Orion said.

The sales for Dongwon Industries also jumped by 7.7 percent to 720.9 billion won in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, and the operating profit recorded 89.8 billion won, up 55.4 percent.

The company’s performance appears to have been propelled by its US-based subsidiary StarKist, which specializes in canned tuna products.

Daesang’s operating profit grew 80.5 percent in the second quarter this year from a year earlier to stand at 61 billion won, and sales increased by 6.9 percent to 781.9 billion won.

Instant noodle companies also benefited, posting record profits, as more people sought convenient meals at home.

Nongshim’s operating profit soared to show a growth rate of 404.8 percent to reach 41.39 billion won in the second quarter this year. As for sales, the company recorded 668 billion won, up 17.6 percent.

According to the company, the overall operating profit in the first half of 2020 was 105 billion won, soaring 163.7 percent on-year. The domestic sales increased by 12.2 percent, and overseas sales, 34.3 percent.

Nongshim explained that the exposure of its Chapagetti and Neoguri noodles in the award-winning movie “Parasite” also played a role in enhancing its performance, in addition to the pandemic.

Samyang Foods, which produces the globally popular Buldak Spicy Chicken noodles, said it posted a record-high performance in the second quarter this year, with its operating profit standing at 29.4 billion won, up 41 percent on-year. The sales also grew by 30 percent to reach 174 billion won.

The company said its quarterly overseas sales surpassed 100 billion won for the first time, at 108.9 billion won, growing 56 percent on-year.

By Jo He-rim (