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Food News Clipping

September 7 - 11, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday,  September 11, 2020

For Coverage: September 7 ~  11, 2020


ROKG to Provide $1,250 in COVID-19 Relief Funds to Each Restaurant

Summary: The Korean government announced on September 10 that its second COVID-19 relief funds will include 3.2 trillion won ($2.7 billion USD) in funds for small businesses, including restaurants and cafes.  Under the plan, restaurants and cafes will receive 1.5 million won ($1,250 USD) in relief funds each once the government bill is approved in the national assembly.


Korea Agricultural Product Price Index (KAPI) hits 167, Up 63% from Last Year

Summary: Farm Air, an agricultural market research firm in South Korea, reported that its Korea Agricultural Product Price Index (KAPI) hit 167 on September 9, which was 63 percent higher than a year ago.  According to Farm Air, KAPI is calculated by a big data-artificial intelligence (AI) analysis tool based on price monitoring of 22 top local agricultural products transacted in wholesale and retail markets in South Korea.  Farm Air explained that strong prices of fruits and vegetables due to the extended monsoon season coupled with typhoon damages in late August were the main causes for the high KAPI in the week of September 9.  Products that increased in price the most included green onion (up 107 percent from a year ago), Korean cabbages (up 91 percent), cabbages (up 63 percent), garlic (up 63 percent), apples (up 54 percent), and pumpkins (up 50 percent).


CU Offers Drive Thru Service

Summary: To cope with the current social distancing level 2.5, CU (a leading convenience store franchise in Korea) recently launched drive thru pick-up service in partnership with OWiN (an on-line platform).  Under the tool, consumers may drive-thru pick up their on-line orders (the store clerk will deliver the purchases to the consumer in the car).  CU said that this tool will help minimize contacts between consumers and store clerks, reducing COVID-19 risk.


Home Drinking due to Elevated COVID-19 Social Distancing Increases Liquor Sales in Convenience Stores

Summary: With social distancing level heightened to 2.5 since August 30, consumers are not allowed in restaurants and bars after nine o’clock in the evening.  As a result, consumers are opting for drinking at home in late evening hours.  CU, a leading convenience store franchise, reported that its overall liquor sales increased 34 percent during August 30 through September 4 compared to the same period the previous month.  EMART24, another leading convenience store franchise, reported that its sales of wine and distilled spirits increased 225 percent and 175 percent respectively during August 31 through September 5 compared to the same period the previous month.


261 Swine Farms to Resume Operation in September after One Year of Quarantine Closure for African Swine Fever Infections

Summary: ASF (African Swine Fever) Response Center under the Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) reported on September 9 that 261 swine farms in Gyeonggi and Gangwon province where ASF infections took place last year will resume operation in September.   According to the center, no more ASF infections were found in the farms since October 9, 2019.  The farms will go through a tight sanitation processes before bringing animals back.  MAFRA will additionally implement measures to prevent future ASF contamination from wild hogs around the farms, including wire fences and CCTV monitoring system.  The number of ASF monitoring staffs in local governments will also increase from 257 to 352.


ROKG to Ease Agricultural Gift Ceiling under Anti-Graft Act during Chuseok Holiday Shopping Season to Support Local Farmers

Summary: The Korean government announced that it will increase the ceiling for agricultural gifts allowed under the Anti-Graft Act to 200,00 won ($167 USD) temporarily during the upcoming Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) shopping season, September 10 through October 4.  The Anti-Graft Act prohibits government or public office employees from taking gifts of 100,00 won or higher value.  The Korean government said that the temporary measure is intended to support local farmers.  The scope of products covered under the temporary measure include fresh and processed agricultural products, livestock meat, and fishery products.


Noryangjin Fishery Market Reintroduces On-line Shopping Platform for Drive-Thru Pick-ups

Summary: Noryangjin Fishery Market (the leading fishery market in Seoul) announced that it will reintroduce an on-line shopping platform for drive-thru pick-ups from September 11 to cope with the second wave of COVID-19.  The market implemented the drive-thru pick-up system successfully earlier in March during the first wave of COVID-19. 


'Elderly Care Food' by Hyundai Green Food Attract Young Consumers

Summary: Hyundai Green Food, a leading food service processor in South Korea, reported that sales of its elderly care food brand 'Greating' saw 26 percent growth in August from the previous month.  Greating program offers healthy prepared meal packages for periodic home delivery service.  All Greating meals are low sodium, low sugar and low calorie products.  Hyundai Green Food said that women in their 30-40's became the leading customers for the Greating program.  Hyundai Green Food explained that young, working mothers had strong demand for quick yet healthy home meal replacement (HMR) products.


Consumers Opt for Shopping in Their Neighborhood due to COVID-19 Concerns

Summary: GS Super, a neighborhood grocery supermarket chain with 318 stores, reported that its cash-register sales increased 13 percent this year during the first half as consumers opted for shopping near their homes due to COVID-19 concerns.  Genesis, the leading fried chicken restaurant franchise, reported that the number of its stores increased by 150 so far this year due to strong growth in home delivery demand.  GS25, the leading convenience store franchise, reported that its stores located in residential areas saw higher sales growth than stores located in office or commercial areas this year.


Foodservice Companies Seek to Expand Delivery Sales

Summary: Facing reduced consumer traffic due to COVID-19, food service companies are trying to expand sales through on-line delivery orders.  ‘Eggslut’ burger restaurant by SPC has recently started to provide on-line delivery service through ‘HappyOrder’ and ‘Coupang Eats’.  SPC offers free delivery until September 13 for orders of $10.5 USD or higher.  ‘Tous les Jours’ bakery store by CJ Foodville has recently expanded its on-line delivery service to ‘Coupang Eats’.


EMART's New Food-Centered Strategy Generates Early Success in Wolgye Branch

Summary: EMART reported that its Wolgye branch saw 30 percent growth in cash-register sales since reopening in May after a major renovation project.  EMART also reported that its SSG.COM on-line grocery shopping sales serviced through Wolgye branch increased 15 percent compared to the pre-renovation period.  EMART said that the renovation project in its Wolgye branch was part of its new strategy to make all its stores more food-centered.  For example, the space allocated to food products in Wolgye branch increased 35 percent after the renovation.  The Wolgye branch also incorporated new food products and services through the renovation, including a custom butcher shop, custom sashimi shop, and a separate area for a variety of packaged meal kits for easy home cooking.  EMART said that food will be the key for its competition against on-line retailers.


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