Thanks to increased awareness of health and well-being, the number of vegans has risen gradually in South Korea. Data released by the Korea Vegan Union showed that the number of vegans skyrocketed to about two million in 2021 from about 150,000 in 2008. The organization estimated that there were 350 to 400 vegan restaurants as of May 2021.
To meet the demands of the growing vegan population, South Korea's vegan meat market was also vitalized. According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, the country's vegan meat market which stood at 22.7 billion won ($17.4 million) in 2020 will reach 29.4 billion won in 2025. In February 2023, the South Korean office of the American pizza restaurant chain Papa John's rolled out vegan pizza products made of coconut oil, starch, and plant-based cheese.
Pulmuone said in a statement on March 5 that the second Plantude store with 69 seats opened in Seoul's central district of Yongsan. The first store opened in May 2022 to provide 13 different vegan menus including plant-based Bulgogi Deopbap, a rice bowl topped with Korean-style barbecued marinated meat alternatives. The new restaurant has a total of 14 menus including a cream sauce-Tteokbokki, a menu of finger-sized rice cakes which is originally simmered in fiery-red spicy chili sauce.
"While the first store was a place to verify the potential of the vegan market, the second one would be used as space to demonstrate whether the market could be expanded," Pulmuone Food & Culture CEO Lee Woo-bong said in a statement on March 6.
Pulmuone has strived to gain a competitive edge in the global vegan meat market. The company currently supplies its vegan meat products to 18 American universities including the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In December 2021, Pulmuone partnered with the South Korean office of International Flavors & Fragrances, a United States-based food and beverage ingredient developer.
According to database company Statista, the global plant-based meat market which stood at $10.11 billion in 2022 is projected to reach $33.9 billion in 2027.
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