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Major South Korean food and beverage companies are diversifying their business portfolios as they are reeling from a drawn-out slump, industry officials said Wednesday.

The country’s biggest confectionery Orion Corp. said it has joined with the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) to venture into the food market. Under the deal, the two will construct a facility for processed food by the end of 2017.

Orion said it aims to advance into the rapidly growing market for premium processed meals made out of rice and wheat amid the rising number of single-person households.

Makers of milk are also struggling to diversity their business portfolios to meet the sluggish consumer demand and overall slump in the market.

Maeil Dairies Industry Co., the leading dairy company, has expanded its business to run Australia-based coffee chain Paul Bassett. M’s Seed, an affiliate of Maeil Dairies, operates about 75 Paul Bassett coffee shops across the country.

Other dairy companies like Namyang Dairy Product Co. have also expanded their business line-up into the dessert and coffee sectors.

Binggrae Co., a major dairy maker, meanwhile, moved into the cosmetics market by working with leading multi-brands beauty and health care store CJ’s Olive Young. Binggrae also said it will open pop-up stores for its soft ice cream products at Lotte Department Store in southern Seoul.

SPC Group, a leading South Korean bakery company, is also making efforts to change its company image as a food conglomerate.

The company said it will hold a shareholders’ meeting later this month to change its company name.  (Yonhap)

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