The meal kit market in Korea is growing rapidly during the pandemic, and small start-ups are leading the rise.

According to Euromonitor, Korea meal kit sales totalled $163M last year, up 85 per cent year-on-year. The market was only $1.7M in 2017, but is expected to be $627M by 2025. A wide variety of options, including soups and stews, fried rice and grilled fish, are offered as meal kits today. The Covid-19 pandemic drove up demand for cooking and eating at home, pulling up sales of meal kits.

“With the development of refrigeration technology, options such as buckwheat noodles can be offered as meal kits, and the taste is also great. Food companies say the meal kit market is promising,” said Won Yong-shin, Deputy General Manager at Hyundai Department Store’s To Home, a delivery service.

Start-ups include Fresh Easy — which is 7.7 per cent owned by GS Home Shopping — My Chef and Tasty9 are some of the key players, with Fresh Easy claiming 60 per cent of the market. Its revenue was $110M last year, up 78.5 per cent year-on-year. Tasty9 reported revenue of $20M last year, surging 217.8 per cent year-on-year. Fuelled by the active growth, the meal kit maker announced it is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Kosdaq market, aiming to list early next year.