FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues
Today's Date: Monday, August 3, 2020
For Coverage: July 25 ~ August 3, 2020
Korean Exports, Production, and Consumer Index Continue to Rebound
Summary: Korea Ministry of Industries, Trade and Resources (MITR) reported that its index for exports, production, and consumption has continued to rebound since April. Korean exports in July totaled $42.8 billion, down 7 percent from the same month last year. But the monthly exports continued a recovery pattern after falling 26 percent in April. The Business Survey Index was 60 in July, up four points from June. The Consumer Composite Sentiment Index (CCSI) also went up by 2.4 points to 84.2 in July.
Korean Credit Card Spending Up 11% in June
Summary: The Korea Credit Finance Association (KCFA) reported that credit card spending in Korea totaled 222 trillion won ($185 billion USD) in the second quarter this year, up 3.9 percent from the same period last year. KCFA said that the spending growth was partly due to the government COVID-19 relief funds provided to families in May. Credit card spending grew 11 percent in June.
(Picture: Monthly Credit Card Spending Growth in Korea, KCFA)
Era of Social Distancing … Hypermarkets are Using Instagram
Summary: With social distancing becoming the new norm, hypermarkets are focusing on online marketing to reach younger generations. As Instagram enables both pictures and short videos which can easily catch people’s attention, it naturally became the preferred tool for online marketing. For instance, Emart’s private brand Peacock’s official Instagram account ‘Peacocktime’, uploads pictures and short clips of food recipes using Emart products. Because the contents of the videos are easy and fun, 156,000 people are following the account trying out the recipes for themselves. This has led to an increase in sales of the products introduced.
Korean Government to Expand Cash Subsidies for Farmers
Summary: Both central and provincial governments in South Korea plan to expand cash subsidies to local farmers. The central government has already increased its 'direct agricultural subsidy program' to 2.4 trillion won ($2 billion USD) for 2020, up 1.1 trillion won from 2019. On top of this, many provincial governments have created provincial level subsidy programs to offer additional cash support to local farmers. For example, Junranamdo province (where agriculture still accounts for a significant portion of the local economy) has budgeted 600,000 won ($500 USD) in direct cash subsidies per farmer in 2020.
Convenience Food for Camping Gaining Popularity
Summary: COVID-19 has encouraged consumers to look for outdoor activities such as camping. This new trend has ignited people’s need for camping equipment and convenience food. For instance, convenience store CU recently launched ‘Convenient Camping Box’ which contains popular camping meals like corn butter, sausage mix, and sausage stew. The popularity of camping has led to an increase in sales of camping food and utilities in hyper markets like E-mart as well.
CJ Cheiljedang Reports Record Monthly Sales for Cold Noodles in June
Summary: CJ Cheiljedang, the leading food processor in South Korea, reported that its monthly sales of prepared cold noodles hit a record high in June, exceeding 10 billion won ($9 million USD). CJ said its effort to offer more diversified recipes to meet the on-going trend of eating at home was the key driver for the success. CJ has deployed various SNS marketing tools this year, including 'Mukbang - eating show' to engage with young consumers. CJ plans to collaborate with Hite-Jinro, the leading alcohol beverage processor in the market, to further market its cold noodles under the theme of "perfect match after drinking".
ROKG to Drop 'Alcoholic Beverages for Cooking' from Liquor Taxes and Regulations
Summary: Korea Ministry of Planning and Finance (MPF) announced on July 24 that its revised tax regulations for 2021 will drop 'alcoholic beverages for cooking' from the Korean Liquor Tax Act. As a result, alcoholic beverages made exclusively for cooking ('Matsul' in Korean, currently designated as an 'Other Alcoholic Beverage' in the Act) will not be subject to related regulations, including taxes and production and distribution regulations. MPF said that the revision will promote restaurants and small processors to launch quality alcoholic beverages for cooking using their own recipes.