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Food News Clipping

January 25 - 29, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, January 29, 2021

For Coverage: January 25 ~  29, 2021


EMART Introduces Customized Prep Station in Meat and Fish Sections 
Summary: EMART, the leading hypermarket grocery retailer in South Korea, announced that EMART stores have renovated fresh food sections to offer more customized services.  For example, meat and fish sections will have prep stations that offer various cutting and preparations at the request of consumers.  EMART explained that this is part of its effort to upgrade its fresh food offerings. 

Korean Government Confirms 79th HPAI Outbreak in Local Poultry Farm 
Summary: The Avian Influenza Management Center under the Korean government announced on January 29 that it confirmed two additional cases of High-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in local poultry farms on January 27 and 28.  As a result, the number of local farms where HPAI outbreak were confirmed increased to 79. 

Retail Sector Sales Increased 5.5% Last Year while the Share of Food Sales Increased by 1.2%.
Summary:  Offline sales of major Korean retailers declined last year, but increased on-line sales caused overall sales to increase.  The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) reported that retailers’ sales increased 5.5% in 2020 from the previous year based on a survey of 13 offline distribution companies (department stores, discount stores, convenience stores & SSM) and 13 online retailers.  In 2020 offline sales decreased 3.6% from the previous year due to social distancing and people avoiding crowded facilities, but online sales increased 18.4%.  

Non-GMO Label Allowed if Adventitious Presence is Not More Than 0.9% 
Summary:  The Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has decided to allow the labeling of 'Non-GMO' when adventitious presence is 0.9% or less.  MFDS also decided to exempt health functional food and livestock products from GMO related labeling when preparing relevant trade document such as 'IP handling'. 
Lotte Mart Reports Strong Sales Growth in Imported Sauces and Cooking Oils for Increased Home Cooking during the COVID-19 Pandemic 
Summary: Lotte Mart, a leading grocery retailer in South Korea, reported that its sales of imported sauces and cooking oils increased 71 percent and 10 percent respectively in December 2020 compared to the same month the previous year.  Lotte Mart explained that increased home cooking during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the strong sales growth. 
Imports of Japanese Beer Decline 86% in 2020 due to 'No Japan' Consumer Sentiment 
Summary: Korean imports of Japanese beer declined 86 percent in 2020 to $5.7 million.  Imports of Japanese beer have been on a steep decline after hitting a record $78 million in 2018 as Korean consumers developed anti-Japan sentiment over political disputes between the two countries.  According to a consumer survey by M-Brain Trend Monitor in December 2020, 6 out of 10 Korean consumers said they intend to maintain 'No Japan' shopping practices. 
Sales of Oligosaccharide and Sesame Oil Increased for Lunar New Year Gift Sets 
Summary:  Nielson Korea's recent analysis of gift set sales in hypermarkets and chain supermarkets during the holiday season last year revealed that COVID-19 is affecting the sales of holiday gift sets.  As Korean consumers' time spent at home increased, sales of home cooking ingredients such as oligosaccharide and sesame oil increased by more than 20% during the Chuseok season compared to the Lunar New Year season in early 2020.  When comparing sales during the Chuseok season in September 2020 with sales during the lunar new years season in January 2020, sales of oligosaccharide were up 26.8%, sesame oil sales were up 24.2%, coffee mix sales were up 19.3%, and cooking oil and processed tuna sales were up 14.3%. 
Agricultural Products for Memorial Service on Lunar New Year's Day will Cost $313 This Year, Up 18% from Last Year 
Summary: The Korea Price Information Corporation (KPI) reported on January 27 that it will cost 344,200 won ($313 USD) for a Korean family to purchase agricultural products at a large scale grocery store needed for a memorial service table during the upcoming Lunar New Year's Day (February 11).  The cost this year is 18 percent higher than last year as prices of related agricultural products have increased significantly due to poor harvests (fresh fruits and grains) and avian influenza (eggs and chicken meat).  KPI said that the cost would be cheaper ($264) in traditional wet markets.  


An Air Shipment of U.S. Eggs Arrives in Korea as Government Temporarily Removes Import Duties 

Summary: A shipment of fresh eggs from the United States arrived in Incheon International Airport via air cargo on January 25.  It was the first shipment of fresh eggs imported into Korea after the Korean government lowered import duties on egg products to zero percent last week.  The tariff change was meant to stabilize the egg market amidst continued outbreaks of Avian Influenza in local poultry farms.  The importer has contracted to import a total of 60 metric tons of fresh eggs from the U.S. supplier. 


Lotte Sells 10 Million Bottles of Its ICIS Mineral Water without Label Stickers 

Summary: Lotte, a leading food processor in South Korea, reported that it sales of its ICIS mineral water with no label stickers reached 10 million bottle at the end of 2020 since launching in January 2020.  The Korean government allowed mineral water bottles to be sold without label stickers in December 2019 to promote environment-friendly packaging practices in the industry.  Lotte was the first processor who launched a product without label stickers.  Other mineral water processors are reportedly planning to launch bottles without label stickers this year. 


Keywords for Korean Food Culture 2021: Escape Three Meals, New Home Meals, and Cooking by MZ Generation 

Summary:  CJ Cheil Jedang's Trend Insight Team predicted that 'Escape Three Meals', 'New Home Meals', and 'Cooking by MZ Generation' will be the top keywords for Korean food culture in 2021.  CJ The prediction is based on Cheil Jedang’s analysis of 90,000 meals and 260,000 cooking methods and menus of 4,700 people during the first half of 2020.  Due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of ‘wellness’is expanding to the pursuit of pleasure and sharing experiences of cooking and eating.  Such changes are also being reflected in Korean food culture. 




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