Summary: The Korean government announced a plan to provide a $9 restaurant voucher to 3.3 million people in August to support the restaurant industry. The voucher will be provided in credit card reward points to the first 3.3 million consumers who eat in restaurants five times. Consumers will need to use the same credit card to have their five restaurant visits counted.
Egg Slut to Open Its First Store in Seoul on July 10 … SPC is the Local Partner
Summary: Egg Slut, a popular American sandwich shop based in California, will open its first store in Korea on July 10. SPC, a Korean foodservice conglomerate, is the local partner. SPC has successfully introduced several U.S. restaurant brands, including Shake Shack. SPC said its partnership with Egg Slut includes Singapore. SPC plans to open the first Singapore store next year.
BBQ Fried Chicken Franchise Launches Its Own Craft Beer … Gov't Deregulation Allows Fried Chicken Shops to Offer Beer Home Deliveries
Summary: BBQ, the leading fried chicken shop franchise in South Korea, launched its own craft beer brand, BBQ Beer, on July 7. BBQ Beer's launching portfolio, co-developed and supplied by an outside partner brewery, offers 6 recipes, including IPA and wheat beer. BBQ is currently building its own brewery which will be completed next year. BBQ said that the change in government regulation earlier this year allows restaurants to include beer in home delivery orders (the value of beer in the order should be lower than the value of food). Fried chicken and beer is one of the most popular food pairings enjoyed by Koreans. BBQ targets to boost its sales by offering high quality craft beer at a value price.
EMART 25 Launches 'COMO' Wine Brand to Meet Increased Consumer Demand
Summary: EMART25, a leading convenience store chain in South Korea, launched its own wine brand, COMO, on July 5. EMART25 said that its COMO wine program is intended to meet increased consumer wine demand. The COMO program will offer value wines from Chile, Italy, Argentina and France for less than 10,000 won a bottle (about $8 USD). Sales of wine in EMART25 increased by 217 percent during May through June this year compared to the same period last year. EMART explained that consumers increased home drinking during the COVID-19 outbreak, and many consumers see convenience stores as a quick and easy place to purchase wine.
Retailers and Restaurants Offer Monthly Subscription Programs
Summary: Tous les Jours, a leading bakery café chain in South Korea, launched a monthly coffee subscription program on July 6. The program offers a cup of Americano coffee every day for 19,900 won a month, a discount of 75 percent. Tous les Jours's monthly subscription program offers bakery products as well. Customers can get a roll of premium bread a week for 7,900 won a month, and get a breakfast set of coffee and sandwich every morning for 49,500 won per month. EMART Traders, a warehouse discount store chain, launched a monthly prescription program for coffee (4,000 won a month) and pizza (25,000 won a month) in March and May this year respectively. Retailers intend to attract consumers to stores via subscription programs.
Imports of Decaffeinated Coffee Up 86% thru May
Summary: Korea imported $14 million (1,724 metric tons) of decaffeinated coffee through May 2020, up 86 and 77 percent respectively compared to the same period last year. Imported products are believed to account for over 90 percent of decaffeinated coffee products consumed in Korea. The strong growth in decaffeinated coffee imports is due to increased launchings of decaffeinated coffee menus by major café chains, including Starbucks Korea. Korean coffee drinkers are already consuming a large amount of coffee as indicated by the fact that each Korean consumes over 350 cups of coffee each year on average. However, heavy drinkers intend to increase their coffee consumption partly by adding decaffeinated products. At the same time, people who are sensitive to caffeine are also supporting demand for decaffeinated coffee as they make more visits to cafés for social-business gatherings.
Convenience Stores Remove Japanese Beer from the Shelf
Summary: CU, the leading convenience store chain in South Korea, has removed all Japanese beer from its stores as sales of Japanese beer have not recovered due to on-going anti-Japan public sentiment. Sales of Japanese beer in CU stores declined by 97.6 percent in the second half of this year compared to the same period last year.
MAFRA Stages 'Korea Gourmet Week' Promotion in July
Summary: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) will stage a 'Korea Gourmet Week' promotion from July 3 through 30. The promotion aims to attract consumer traffic to restaurants. Some 250 leading restaurants in five different regions will participate in the promotion, offering discount prices for their popular menus.
Industry Production and Investment Down while Retail Consumption Up in May
Summary: The Korea National Statistics Office released its monthly national industry statistics on June 30. According to the data, Korean industry production declined 1.2 percent in May from the previous year, extending the downturn trend to five months. Industry investment also declined by 5.9 percent. However, retail sales increased 4.6 percent.
Seoul Metropolitan Area Attracts More Population
Summary: According to the Korea National Statistics Office (NSO), the number of people in the Seoul metropolitan area outnumbered all the other areas combined in South Korea for the first time at the end of 2019. The Seoul Metropolitan Area will likely attract more people in coming years. This area includes 72 percent of the 1,686 publicly traded companies, 37 percent of Korean universities and 36 percent of public cultural facilities (such as museums and libraries).
Korean Government Announces 286,000 Metric Tons of Fishing Quotas for the 2020-2021 Season
Summary: The Korea Ministry of Marine and Fishery (MMF) announced on June 30 that the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2020-2021 season (July 2020 through June 2021) will be 286,045 metric tons, down 7.3 percent from the previous season. MMF explained that the decline in TAC is due to reduced major resources such as squid and mackerel in local seas.
EMART to Offer More Premium Prepared Meals in Partnership with Michelin Star Restaurants
Summary: EMART, the leading hypermarket store chain in South Korea, announced that its premium prepared HMR (Home Meal Replacement) brand, 'Peacock Go-Soo-Eui-Mat-Jib', plans to double recipes to 100 by the end of this year. The premium prepared meal brand offers recipes co-developed with popular Michelin star restaurants. For example, one of hot sellers under the program, 'Peacock Jin Jin Menbosa', is an outcome of a partnership with Jin Jin, a Michelin one star Chinese restaurant in Seoul. EMART said that consumer demand for premium HMR products is increasing due to COVID-19.
Retailers Expand Healthy HMR Products, Targeting Elevated Consumer Health Concerns during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Summary: Leading Korean retail companies have launched numerous health-themed HMR (Home Meal Replacement) products this year as consumers are more concerned about their health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some notable examples include: braised abalone-ginseng by Market Curley, Beef knee cartridge stew by G Market, Cat fish porridge by SSG.COM, and Ginseng chicken soup by Shinsegae Food.
(Picture: braised abalone-ginseng by Market Curley; Beef knee cartridge stew by G Market; Cat fish porridge by SSG.COM; and Beef soup by Big Mama)
Garlic Harvest This Year is Forecast to Decline 9.6 Percent to 350,000 Metric Tons … Still 15 Percent Larger than Regular Year
Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) reported on June 29 that the garlic harvest in local farms was forecast to total 350,000 metric tons this year, down 9.6 percent from last year. MAFRA added that the amount was still 15 percent higher than average. MAFRA has carried out measures this year to stabilize garlic prices.
COVID-19 Consumption Trends ... Extended Home Life Boosts Sales of Body Scrub, Prepared Rice Meal, and Air Fryer
Summary: There has been strong sales growth in products related to life at home due to COVID-19. Notable examples include body scrub products (44 percent growth during June 1-17 compared to last year - CJ Oliveyoung stores), prepared rice meals (36 percent growth during May 1 - June 10 - GS25 convenience store chain), and air fryers (516 percent growth during January through May - Junjaland electronics store chain).
Single Member Households Exceed 6 Million
Summary: The Korea Statistics Office (KSO) reported single member households in Korea totaled 6.03 million in 2019, 15 percent higher than in 2015. Single member households accounted for 29.9 percent of total households in the country. KSO said that delayed marriages among young generations as well as an increase in the elderly population caused the growth in single member households. KSO said that 60.8 percent of the people living alone were employed.
TMON Introduces Free Return Policy on Fresh Agricultural Products
Summary: TMON, a major on-line retailer in South Korea, announced a free return policy on fresh agricultural products on June 24. TMON said consumers can return their purchases back to TMON for free if they are not satisfied with the quality. Consumers should make the return decision within a day of receiving the products. TMON said this policy is to encourage consumers to purchase more fresh agricultural products on-line.
Dr. Jung's Food to Expand Contract Purchases for Local Soybeans
Summary: Dr. Jung's Food, the leading processor for soy milk and beverages in South Korea, reported that it would expand contracts with local soy farms to purchase 600 metric tons this year, three times more than last year. Dr. Jung's Food mainly worked with local contract farms to purchase black soybeans in the past. The contracts will include regular beans beginning this year.
Convenience Stores to Offer More Health Functional Foods as Young Consumers Pay More Attention to Health
Summary: Convenience stores are introducing an increased number of health functional foods as their main customers, young consumers, pay more attention to health issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Seven Eleven Korea reported that its sales of health functional foods increased by 72 percent during January through April this year compared to the same period last year. Some of new products newly introduced include 'Good Morning Milk Thistle Hutgae' extracts (by Chunho & Care), 'Himalayan Milk Thistle' drinks (by Yuhan Health Life), and 'Prebiotic Bio Tea' drinks (by Bio Tea).
COVID-19 Took Bigger Toll on People with Part Time Jobs ... 52% Reports Decreased Income
Summary: A recent survey by a NGO group (Job Security 119) revealed that COVID-19 had a bigger economic impact on people with part time jobs. 26.3 percent of part time employees surveyed reported that they experienced job loss during the last six months during COVID-19, which was 6.7 times higher than full time employees (4 percent). 52.8 percent of part time employees experienced income decline during the period, 2.7 times higher than full time employees (19.2 percent).
People in 30's are the Leading Cafe Consumers, EDIYA Coffee
Summary: EDIYA coffee, the leading cafe franchise in South Korea with over 3,000 stores, reported its 'consumer report 2010' on June 22. According to the report, people in their 30's were the leading consumers, purchasing 20 percent more than other age groups. People in their 30's were also leading purchases for ready-to-drink products (RTD). On the other hand, people in their 20's were opting for value products as they preferred extra-large size cups. People in their 40's showed more interest in trendy recipes. People in their 50's and older preferred hot drinks.
Dongwon F&B Launches 'Beautic' Inner Beauty Functional Foods
Summary: Dongwon F&B, a leading food processor in South Korea, reported that its first inner-beauty functional food brand, Beautic, was launched on June 21. Dongwon F&B said Beautic products target women in their 30-50's with active ingredients such as collagen and dietary fiber.