FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues
Today's Date: Friday, February 19, 2021
For Coverage: February 15 ~ 19, 2021
Leading Bakery Stores Increase Prices, 5.6 - 9%
Summary: Paris Baguette, the leading window bakery store chain in South Korea, announced on February 18 that prices of its products will increase 5.6 percent on average from February 19. Paris Baguette explained that the price increase is due to increased cost for ingredients and other operational expenses. Tous les Jours, the second largest bakery store chain already increased prices by 9 percent on average earlier in February.
Korean Government to Import 24 Million Eggs Additionally to Stabilize Market Price
Summary: The Korean government announced on February 19 that it will import an additional 24 million chicken eggs as the price of eggs in the market remains high due to continued outbreaks of avian influenza in local farms. Deputy Minister YB Kim of the Ministry of Planning and Finance said in a press interview that the government will expedite the import clearance process so that the shipments can promptly access the market.
Home Plus Express to Renovate Stores with Bigger Focus on Fresh Groceries and HMR
Summary: Home Plus Express, a neighborhood grocery store chain, announced on February 17 that 250 of its 342 stores in Korea will be renovated by 2023. Home Plus said that after the renovation project it will offer more fresh groceries and Home Meal Replacement products while reducing non-food products. The ratio of food in Home Plus Express stores will increase from 80 percent currently to 90 percent after the renovation. Home Plus said that the strategy is to meet increased consumer demand for higher quality food and convenient meal solutions.
Daesang to Expand Processing Facilities in Indonesia for Halal-certified Food Ingredients
Summary: Daesang, a leading food processor in South Korea, announced on February 17 that it will expand investment in Indonesia and increase production of various halal-certified food ingredients, including corn starch and sugars. Daesang said that under its new growth plan it targets to increase sales revenue from the Indonesian business by $1 billion by 2030 (current annual revenue is $300 million). Indonesia is emerging rapidly as a key producer for the world halal food market. Many global food companies have established production facilities in Indonesia to supply other halal markets.
Korean Liquor Tax on Beer Increases 4,100 Won per Kiloliter for 2021 from March 1
Summary: The Korean government released a public notice on February 17 announcing revised liquor taxes on beer and rice wine for 2021 based on shifts in consumer prices in 2020. The beer tax increased 4,100 won ($3.7) to 834,400 won ($758) per kiloliter for 2021. The rice wine tax increased 200 won ($18 cents) to 41,900 won ($38) per liter. The revised taxes will take effect on March 1.
Agricultural Wholesale Prices Decline as Lunar New Year's Day Shopping Season Ends
Summary: The Korea Agricultural Product Price Index (KAPI) was 173.18 on February 15, down 11.1 percent from the previous week. The index declined for two weeks in a row after reaching a seasonal high of 203.94 on January 30. Marketers said that the market resumed regular operation in early February as the Lunar New Year's Day shopping season ended. KAPI tracks prices of key agricultural products in local wholesale markets.
Food Processors Express Serious Concerns as Ruling Party Proposes a Bill to Mandate Pre-approval of Product Packaging
Summary: The ruling party submitted a bill on February 16 that proposes mandatory inspection and approval of packaging (materials and easy of recycling) for consumer products prior to market launching. Existing products will be required to gain approval within two years after the bill is implemented. The ruling party said that the bill intends to promote recycling of packaging materials and reduce waste. However, industries have expressed serious concerns, claiming that the bill will increase consumer costs while slowing down business operations. A food marketer commented that "there are only two inspection organizations for packaging, but the number of new products launched by the top 6 food processors is 2,300 a year. There are an additional 15,000 existing products that will be required to be inspected within 2 years. The bill will meet a serious delay and very high cost". Industries are also concerned about potential leakage of new product plans to competitors during the pre-approval process.
Chungnam Province Signs MOU to Export $150 Million of Seafood to the United States
Summary: Chungnam province reported on February 16 that it signed an MOU with Wang Global Net, a U.S. food distribution company, to export $150 million of processed seafood products to the United States over the next 5 years. Ghim (dry seasoned laver seaweed) will be a major product exported to the United States.
28 Million Birds have been Depopulated This Winter due to Avian Influenza Outbreaks … Government Eases Depopulation Protocol Temporarily
Summary: According to a January 15 report by the Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), a total of 28.1 million birds have been depopulated in local poultry farms since October 2020 due to outbreaks of avian influenza (AI). In other words, 223,900 birds were depopulated each day over the last 138 days this winter. The scale of the depopulation was the second highest since the 2016-2017 season when 38.1 million birds were depopulated. It is estimated that the government will need some 400 billion won ($364 million) to compensate the farms for the loss. The Korean government announced on January 15 that its AI depopulation protocol was going to be eased temporarily (for two weeks) from mandatory depopulation within 3 kilometer radius to 1 kilometer radius. The local poultry industry has been arguing that the government depopulation protocol was excessive. The government commented that the 3 kilometer depopulation protocol was necessary as the level of AI contamination from wild birds was much higher this year.
Dunkin Donuts Launches '24 Hour Stores', Offering 'Dunkin Tonight' Menus
Summary: SPC Group, the Korean franchiser of Dunkin Donuts, announced that some of its flagship stores in metropolitan areas will operate 24 hours a day, offering new 'Dunkin Tonight' menus. SPC Group said that the 24 hour store is part of its strategy to meet increased consumer demand for home dining and drinking.
Rapid Increase in Imports of Processed Fruits and Vegetables Including Tart Cherries, Pomegranate, and Carrots in 2020
Summary: As people’s interest in health increased last year, imports of fruit and vegetable concentrates made from tart cherries, pomegranate, and carrots also increased. Processed fruits and vegetables became the largest import category in 2020 (the category was number 3 in 2019). MFDS reported that processed fruits and vegetables, kimchi, and beer were the largest imports into Korea last year (excluding refining and food processing ingredients). The volume of imported processed fruits and vegetables increased 2.1% in 2020 to 281,222 metric tons. This growth is mainly due to the increase in imports of fruit and vegetable ‘concentrates’ made from tart cherries, pomegranate, and carrots. Imports of tart cherry concentrates increased 106 times from 3 tons in 2019 to 3,349 tons last year, pomegranates increased 64% from 8,631 tons to 14,153 tons, and carrots increased by 42% from 3,422 tons to 4,874 tons.