Frozen pizza products are being manufactured at a Salina factory of Schwan’s Company in Kansas. Photo courtesy of CJ CheilJedang

Schwan’s Company strives to take over Nestle

South Korea’s food giant CJ CheilJedang said on May 22 that it had completed the construction of the world’s largest frozen pizza factory in the United States and started full-scale operation.

The Seoul-based company noted that it had almost doubled the size of its existing 540,000-square-foot pizza production facilities in Salina, Kansas, to almost 970,000 square feet.

In 2019, CJ CheilJedang acquired Schwan’s Company, which had run the Salina factory to come up with such frozen pizza products as Red Baron and Tony’s.

CJ CheilJedang expects that the new production lines will be capable of cranking out 100 million pizzas every year.

To meet the increased demand for shipping and receiving docks, CJ CheilJedang plans to expand its logistics center in Kansas with the aim of finishing the job by mid-decade.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony late last week, Schwan’s Company CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios said that the company had greatly cranked up the production capacity for Red Baron products.

“This is a world-class, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that enables us to significantly increase our capacity to produce our quality pizza products and continue to support the community’s economic development,” the CEO said.

“Red Baron is the fastest-growing brand in frozen pizza, and we’re well-positioned to meet consumers’ growing demand for their favorite pizza.”

CJ CheilJedang saw its food sales in the U.S. jump 18% during the first quarter of 2023 from a year before.

During the first four months of this year, the market share of its pizza brand Red Baron amounted to 19.4 percent closely chasing business bellwether DiGiorno of Nestle with 20.4 percent, according to the company.

“With the expansion of the Salina factory, we will continue to build business capabilities to become the No. 1 food company in the U.S.,” a CJ official said.

The share price of CJ CheilJedang rose 1.86% Monday on the South Korean stock exchange.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at homin30@hanmail.net or 82-2-6956-6698.