Customers visit Canada’s first Paris Baguette store in Toronto. Photo courtesy of SPC

Korean food giant strives to target North American markets

South Korean food giant SPC announced on March 23 that the company had opened its new Paris Baguette store in Canada. It is located in the Yonge Sheppard Center in Toronto.

Paris Baguette is South Korea’s leading bakery chain, and SPC has tried to tap into global markets with the brand. Currently, it operates around 450 stores in 10 countries, including Canada.

In the past, its main target has been Southeast Asian countries. But SPC recently attempted to strengthen its presence in the North American markets.

Currently, the number of Paris Baguette outlets in the United States amounts to some 120. The firm strives to more than double the figure this year through brisk franchise contracts.

It has a long-term target of running 1,000 stores in the U.S. by 2030.

“SPC will speed up its global expansion to target the global food market of which size stands at around $9 trillion,” SPC President Hur Jin-soo said.

SPC is not the only Korean food company fixing its eye on North America.

Paris Baguette’s smaller Korean competitor Tous Les Jours of CJ Foodville operates more than 85 stores in the U.S. and plans to jack up the number to 100 by the end of this June.

The country’s leading chicken franchise BBQ is running up to 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Observers point out that a mounting number of Korean food and bakery corporations will test their fortune in the U.S. and Canada.

“In the past, mostly Korean manufacturers knocked on the door of the U.S. and Canadian markets demonstrated by Samsung and Hyundai,” Seoul-based business tracker Leaders Index CEO Park Ju-gun said.

“But more and more services companies also turn to the North American markets thanks to the better recognition of Korean brands there. Such trends are expected to continue.”

The share price of SPC went down 0.87 percent on March 23 on the South Korean stock exchange.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.