After seeing the South Korean plant-based industry triple over the last decade, Seoul based food and beverage giant Nongshim has plans to further expand and promote its vegan food brand Veggie Garden this year.
Veggie Garden is a range of plant-based convenience products developed by the Nongshim R&D Center and the group’s partner company Taekyung Nongsan. Nongshim is the largest instant noodles and snack company in South Korea, running 11 factories worldwide and operating in more than 100 countries.
Veggie Garden currently offers 18 products including plant-based versions of Korean traditional foods like grilled steak and meatballs. Nongshim also claims to be the first Korean company to develop a vegan cheese, with dairy-free cheeses as well as sauces being added to the product line. Nine more products are due to be released in February and Nongshim is currently working to expand its online and offline retail channels for Veggie Garden.
Affiliate Taekyung Nongsan says, “We strive to popularize plant-based products through dining, menu consulting, and win-win cooperative strategies with small and medium enterprises.”
Figures in South Korea show that one fifth of the population is now reducing meat consumption, a key metric in a country where animal meat BBQs are central to dining traditions. The country even saw a 26% increase in animal meat consumption at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the growing number of flexitarians opting for occasional plant-based alternatives, and millennials opting for greener consumption has boosted the vegan economy and “vegan zones” now feature in major supermarkets.
“After we came up with our test products in 2017, we worked with famous vegan chefs in Seoul to develop new dishes, and gathered feedback from the vegan community and consumers to improve the taste and quality of the products,” a Nongshim official said in a press release.