Korea’s No.1 food and bio company CJ CheilJedang has partnered with StartLife to benefit from European innovations for the global market, while also expanding the worldwide presence of Korean cuisine and ingredients. For European startups the partnership provides a gateway to Asian markets for their novel food technologies.

Founded in 1953, CJ CheilJedang offers a broad range of foods and beverages in every part of the supermarket. It already exports to more than 100 countries and, with the StartLife partnership, it aims to continue expanding the appeal of Korean food, which has impressive traditions when it comes to cuisine, fermentation and agriculture.

That could include sharing the nation’s long-standing expertise in algae cultivation, for instance, or in producing refined and delicious tastes and textures for meat substitutes.

Korea’s healthy nutrition goes global

“Considering recent export successes, including Squid Game, kimchi and Korean barbecue, the world is clearly ready for Korea,” said Heiko Oertling, R&D Hub Manager at the new CJ Research Centre Europe at Wageningen in the Netherlands, where the company has set up its European branch. “Now is our moment, and we want to seize it.”

“We want to bring Korean food to a broader audience, including all of its health and nutritional benefits.”

“Culturally, Korea is unique in terms of cooking and especially fermentation,” Oertling said. “The ambition is to leverage this, and adapt it to local tastes. We want to bring Korean food to a broader audience, including all of its health and nutritional benefits.”

Gateway to Asian markets for European foodtech startups

Heiko Oertling, R&D Hub Manager, CJ CheilJedang with Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager at StartLife.

For StartLife, the partnership brings opportunities for its network of startups looking to access the Asian market, especially those involved in health and nutrition and the protein transition. Areas of interest for CJ CheilJedang extend along the supply chain from feed to finished products, as well as technologies and raw materials for more sustainable food production.

“It’s great to have Korea’s leading food company joining our community,“ said Caroline Bijkerk, Global Partnership Manager at StartLife. “Startups can take advantage of this gateway to Korea and other Asian markets and the many potential synergies with CJ CheilJedang, including new product developments and future supplier-customer relationships.”

Food Innovation Hub

“We want to be part of StartLife’s ecosystem and all the innovations that are happening here,” said Oertling. “Wageningen is an ideal location for that. We want to link with innovative startups, partners and companies and then produce new offerings that bring a benefit to consumers, whether for health, convenience or sustainability.”

The research centre is about much more than product development, however. CJ CheilJedang also aims to attract talent in innovation and training, as well as new perspectives on alternative proteins and sustainable food systems.

Startups interested in working with CJ CheilJedang should contact StartLife to arrange an introduction.

About CJ Cheiljedang

CJ CheilJedang is the core subsidiary in charge of the food and bioengineering business sectors of the CJ Group. It has led the development of the Korean food industry for the past 60 years and contributed to the development of the bioengineering industry as the nation’s top food company. Launched in 1953 as a food ingredient company, CJ CheilJedang has expanded its business to processed foods.

CJ CheilJedang has achieved outstanding growth, quantitatively and qualitatively, in food processing and ingredients in the food business, as well as in the bioengineering business sector. CJ CheilJedang is striving to go beyond being the No. 1 in Korea to becoming a global leader in each area. CJ CheilJedang will continue to grow and evolve in the food & bio sectors by practicing the spirit of OnlyOne and develop into a global lifestyle company.