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Food News Clipping

November 16 - 20, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, November 20, 2020

For Coverage: November 16 ~  20, 2020

 Local Soybean Price Soars due to Poor Harvest

Summary: The Korea Agro-Fishery Marketing Corporation (aT) reported on November 20 that the wholesale market price of local soybeans amounted to 218,000 won ($190 USD) per 35 kilogram bag on average during the third week in November, up 11.6 percent from the same period last year.  aT said that the high price of local soybean during the harvest season was due to reduced production as a result of an extended monsoon season in June and typhoon damage in September.  The Korean government forecast that the local soybean harvest this year will be 87,742 metric tons, down 17 percent from last year.  The new crop this year will also suffer from reduced quality as the government survey in October found defects in shape and skin color in 63 percent and 58 percent of the field samples respectively.  End user processors and restaurants commented that they are forced to increase prices of their products processed from local soybean.  Imports of food soybeans will also likely increase in the coming months.  Korean imports of food soybean this year through September totaled 244,644 metric tons, up 2.8 percent from the same period last year.


Starbucks Korea to Launch Delivery Only Stores

Summary: Starbucks Korea reported that it will launch two delivery only stores in Gangnam, Seoul in November.  The stores will take delivery orders only from consumers within 1.5 a kilometer radius via Starbucks' mobile app.  Minimum order amount is 15,000 won ($13 dollar USD) and the extra delivery fee is 3,000 won ($2.6 USD).  Starbucks Korea said that this is a pilot test for potential expansion to other stores.


Michelin Guide Seoul 2021 Lists 32 Top Restaurants

Summary: Michelin Guide published its Seoul Guide 2021 on November 19.  The guide lists 32 restaurants with star recognition.  Gaon and Rayoun, both Korean cuisine restaurants, received 3 star recognition for five years in a row since the launching of the Seoul Guide.  The guide also listed seven 2 star restaurants and twenty three 1 star restaurants. 


More Consumers Give Up Winter Kimchi Making ... Retailers Report Sharp Sales Growth in Cured Cabbages as Consumers Look for Easier Ways

Summary: Market Kurly, a leading on-line grocery retailer, reported that its sales of cured cabbage packages saw 306 percent growth during the first weeks in November compared to the same period last year.  Market Kurly said that this was due to more consumers deciding not to make winter Kimchi from scratch due to busier lives.  Instead, consumers opted for either ready-to-serve Kimchi in retail stores or making Kimchi from prepared ingredient sets.


SPC Opens 14th Shake Shack Store

Summary: SPC, a leading food service company in Korea, reported that its 14th Shake Shack store opened in Daejun city on November 20.


GS25 Offers Beaujolais Nouveau for On-line Reservation Orders and Store Pickups

Summary: GS25, the leading convenience store franchise in South Korea, reported that its 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau (a new vintage French wine) reservation offer received 10,000 bottles in consumer on-line orders as of November 19.  Consumers can place reservation orders in the GS25 on-line shopping platform for in-person pickups in nearby GS25 stores after the annual Beaujolais Nouveau launching day, the third Thursday in November.  GS25 has secured 30,000 bottles this year, expecting stronger sales.  Each bottle is offered at 25,000 won ($22.5 USD).


Police Arrests an Import Distributor who Sold Chinese Chilly Pepper Flour as Local Product

Summary: The Seoul Police reported on November 19 that it arrested an import distributor who allegedly sold 35 metric tons of imported Chinese red chilly pepper flour as local origin product.  The police added that it was further investigating the market for additional origin fraud cases.  The police explained that the high price of local chilly pepper this year due to unfavorable weather condition resulted in increased origin fraud attempts in the market.


Korean Government Bans Imports of Poultry Products from Sweden due to High-pathogenic AI Oubreak

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on November 18 that it ordered a temporary import ban on all poultry products from Sweden as Sweden reported an outbreak of H5N8 type high-pathogenic avian influenza in its poultry farm on the same day.  According to MAFRA, Sweden exported a 24 metric ton shipment of frozen chicken feet to South Korea so far this year.


Busan New Port to Expand ... Shipping Capacity will Double to Become the 3rd Largest Container Port in the World

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) unveiled its plan to expand Busan New Port on November 17.  The $11 billion USD project targets to double the shipping capacity of the leading port in South Korea to 3.4 million TEU (twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) of containers a year, which will be the third largest in the world upon completion by 2030.  The expansion, officially named 'Busan New Port II / 'Jinhae New Port', is over 8 kilometers long and can dock twenty-one 25,000 TEU container ships at the same time.  MOF said that the new port will be a 'Smart Port', equipped with fully automated facilities for docking, loading, and transport processes. 


Korea Signs RCEP with 15 Trading Partners in Asia, Forming the Largest Free Trade Market in the World

Summary: The Korean president Moon Jae In attended a virtual signing ceremony on November 15 together with leaders of 15 Asian countries, launching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).  Korea, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and 10 ASEAN countries are launching members of RCEP.  India has yet to join RCEP.  The Korean government said that RCEP will promote trade and mutual prosperity by reducing tariffs and trade barriers in what will be the largest economic zone in the world.  RCEP will expand tariff elimination among the trading partners to 91.9 - 94.5 percent of products traded (from current 79.1 - 89.4 percent).  Korea has already established bilateral free trade agreements with many RCEP members, but RCEP provides a venue to develop a free trade deal with Japan for the first time.  Korean import tariffs (30 percent) on Japanese beer will be removed over a 20 year period under RCEP.  Sensitive agricultural products, including rice, apples and chili pepper, are excluded from the RCEP tariff elimination schedule for Korea.


Amazon Enters Korea via Partnership with SK Telecom

Summary: SK Telecom, a leading telecommunication company in South Korea, announced on November 15 that it signed a partnership agreement with to offer all Amazon products in its on-line shopping platform,  SK Telecom said that Korean consumers can purchase Amazon products in the 11st site for easy personal direct imports as the platform will take care of shipping and customs paperwork.  


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