SEOUL — To beef up care foodservice capabilities, Hyundai Green Food, the food ingredient distribution service wing of South Korea’s Hyundai Department Store, released a subscription meal kit service for diabetes patients. Care food refers to food products designed for patients or those who need to consume controlled menus because of health conditions such as an allergy or other illnesses.
Meal kits are ready-to-eat food packages that need no heating or can be simply heated using a microwave oven. They became popular among young workers and housewives after the first wave of a coronavirus pandemic hit South Korea in 2020. Consumers chose to stay at home and eat convenient meal packages or delivered food instead of visiting crowded shopping malls to avoid infection.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, South Korea’s care food market stood at two trillion won ($1.6 billion) in 2020. The ministry predicted that the market would grow to three trillion won in 2025. Main customers in the care food market are meal provision service companies at hospitals, care centers and elderly homes.
Hyundai Green Food said that the company released a monthly subscription service for home-style healthy food meal kits for diabetes patients. Each meal kit includes five dishes including a main menu and side dishes. The meal kit is designed to control a patient’s blood glucose level and can be heated by using a microwave oven for about two minutes.
“Healthy eating habits are the most important for diabetes patients but it is hard for them to care about nutritional values when they are preparing a meal,” the company said in a statement on March 4. The new meal kit was released under “Greating,” a care food brand launched in 2020. The food ingredient company would continue to upgrade the product lineup of meal kits for diabetes patients and develop other care food products for elderly and cancer patients.
Hyundai Green food has diversified its business to niche food markets. The company set up a smart food factory with a daily capacity of 50 tons of food in 2020 and released three kinds of packaged meals, including low-fat 300-kilocalorie meals and high-protein and low-carbohydrates food packages, in 2021.
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