Food companies striving to develop microwavable HMR packing containers

SEOUL-- South Korean food processing firms are striving to develop microwavable packing containers for frozen and instant foods amid the growing popularity of home meal replacement (HMR) products, industry sources said Thursday.

The size of the local packaging industry stood at 44.2 trillion won (US$41.4 billion) in 2015 while the global market size was tallied at 988 trillion won, data showed.

Nongshim Co. recently launched its flagship instant noodle product Shin Ramyeon in an upgraded container that can preserve the flavor of the noodles as they are cooked in a microwave oven.

Ottogi Corp. has also begun marketing several instant noodles in microwaveable containers.

CJ Cheiljedang, a leading food manufacturer, has been developing hamburger steaks and several other frozen foods that can be cooked in microwaves within 90 seconds.

Dongwon Systems Corp., a packaging unit of Dongwon Group, said it has invested US$10 million in expanding the factories of two Vietnamese packaging firms, Tan Tien Plastic Packaging and Minh Viet Packaging. Dongwon bought the Vietnamese firms for $96 million in 2015. The plants make it possible for Dongwon to better move forward on food packaging.

"The packaging technology will now emerge as an important factor to enhance the competitiveness of products," an industry source said.

Nielsen Korea data, meanwhile, showed that the market for HMR products grew 7.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.01 trillion won during the first six months of 2017.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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