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Food News Clipping

September 14 - 18, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday,  September 18, 2020

For Coverage: September 14 ~  18, 2020


Markets Stock on Up Fresh Fruit for Upcoming Chuseok Thanksgiving Rituals

Summary: Wholesale and retail markets in South Korea are busy stocking up on fresh fruit to offer during the upcoming Chuseok shopping season.  (Chuseok is Korea's Thanksgiving Day, and falls on October 1 this year.)  An assortment of fresh fruit (including apples, pears, persimmons, grapes, jujubes) is one of the key items required for the memorial service that Korean families observe on the day of Chuseok.  According to marketers, the price of fresh fruits this year is about 10 percent higher on average than regular years due to an extended monsoon season and typhoon damage.


Ritual Foods for Chuseok Memorial Service will Cost $280 This Year, aT

 Summary: The Korea Agro-Fishery Marketing Corporation (aT) reported that it will cost 340,000 won ($280 USD) for a Korean family to purchase in a hypermarket grocery store (or 240,000 won in a street market) 28 agricultural products needed to put together the traditional ritual foods for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) memorial service this year.  The price is about 10 percent higher this year compared to regular years due to reduced supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.


NH Partners with Netherlands to Educate Local Swine Industry Professionals

Summary: The Korea National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (NH) announced on September 17 that it developed a partnership with Netherlands swine industry to help local swine farmers and professionals obtain advanced technologies and skills.  NH organized a group of 7 local industry leaders in June who will attend an one year education program under the partnership.  The partnership will also provide a series of virtual education seminars offered to all industry participants.  According to NH, the partnership will provide in-depth education on various subjects, including feed, animal welfare, disease prevention, information technologies, and environment-friendly farming.


OECD Lowers GDP Growth Forecast for South Korea to -1.0% … Still Highest among OECD Member Countries

Summary: The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) reported on September 16 its revised GDP growth forecast for 2020.  Reflecting the second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks that started in mid-August in South Korea, OECD lowered its forecast for South Korea to -1.0 percent, which was 0.2 percent point lower than previous forecast in August.  However, OECD forecast that South Korea was still going to suffer the least economic impact from COVID-19 among its member countries.  By the way, OECD forecast that China, a non-member, would be the only country that will see a positive GDP growth this year.


'Animal Welfare Milk, Home Delivered within 24 Hours after Milking' by Market Kurly Reports Success

Summary: Market Curly, a leading on-line retailer in South Korea, reported that its private brand 'Kurly's Animal Welfare Milk' became the top seller in the fresh milk category since launching in February this year.  Market Kurly said that the key to its success was strong consumer attention to premium quality and safety.  The milk is delivered to the consumers within 24 hours after milking from four contract farms that are operated under strict requirements set by Market Kurly, including certifications for animal welfare, no anti-biotics, and HACCP.


Coupang Launches ‘Fine Table’, Premium Fresh Food Delivery Service

Summary: Coupang, a leading on-line retailer in South Korea, launched ‘Fine Table’ on September 16.  Coupang said 'Fine Table' is a new tool to meet increased consumer demand for premium fresh food delivery service.  'Fine Table' offers premium quality food products in five categories (meat, fruits, fish, bakeries, and gift sets) that have been previously available only in conventional retail stores such as king crabs, lobsters, and extra-large fish.  Orders made in 'Fine Table' will be delivered the next day to any location in the market.


Korean Won - US Dollar Exchange Rate Falls below 1,800 First Time in Seven Months

Summary: The Korean won - US dollar exchange rate was 1,179 ($1 USD = 1,179 won) on September 15, down 4.5 won from the previous day.  It was the first time that the exchange rate fell below 1,800 since February 12 after the outbreak of COVID-19.  


Food Processors Expand 'Care Food' Business Targeting Elderly Consumers

Summary: Leading food processors and food service companies in South Korea are expanding investment to develop 'care food' businesses targeting elderly consumers.  The number of elderly consumers over 60 years old is forecast to increase sharply to account for over 40 percent of the Korean population by 2040.  Food processors are gearing up their research and development efforts to offer products catered to different needs of the silver population, including better nutrition, functional benefits, easy digestion, and soft texture.  At the same time, food processors are developing partnerships and networks with related industries, such as hospitals, silver homes, and silver care professionals to secure marketing reach to target consumers while strengthening consumer brand recognition.  Pulmuwon Foodmerce, CJ Freshway, Ourhome, Shinsegae Food, and Huyndia Green Food are some of the leading players in the care food market.  


YoGiYo Launches Yomart, "Quick-Commerce" Home Delivery Stores
Summary: YoGiYo, a leading on-line restaurant meal delivery service platform in South Korea, announced on September 16 that it launched Yomart, a "quick-commerce" retail business that combines conventional retail store and on-line shopping.  According to YoGiYo, Yomart stores will be located in busy metropolitan areas and provide 'within 30 minutes' quick delivery service for on-line orders.  Yomart stores will service home deliveries only.  This is the same strategy deployed by B Mart, which was launched by the leading on-line restaurant meal delivery service platform BDM earlier this year.  Yomart offers some 3,000 SKUs of products, ranging from fresh grocery foods to household goods to pet foods.  YoGiYo is owned by Delivery Heroes (DH), an on-line food delivery company based in Berlin, Germany. 


Korean Deep Sea Fishing Catch in 2019 Amounts to 510,000 MT, Up 11%

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Marine and Fisheries reported 'Korean Deep Sea Fishing Industry Statistics 2019' on September 15.  According to the report, the Korean deep sea fishing industry caught 510,000 metric tons of fish in 2019, up 11 percent from the previous year.  Skipjack tuna (also known as bonito) was the leading catch with 290,000 metric tons, followed by yellowfin tuna (50,000 metric tons), arctic shrimp (40,000 metric tons), and squid (20,000 metric tons).  The number of fishing vessels in the industry was 205, down 6 from the previous year.  Among the catch, 230,000 metric tons were exported.


Shinsege TV Home Shopping Offers Overnight Delivery Service

Summary: There has been a surge in consumers shopping on-line for home deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Shinsege TV Home Shopping, a cable shopping channel in Korea, has launched overnight delivery service for its fresh grocery food offers.  The first product for the overnight delivery offer will be live lobsters that will be aired on September 16.  According to Shinsegae, the overnight delivery service is currently available in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi province only.


 HMM Set Sail 12 of the World's Largest Ocean Container Ships

Summary: HMM, the leading ocean container shipper in South Korea, reported on September 13 that all of its twelve new 24,000 TEU ocean containers are now in operation with the last ship, HMM Saint Petersburg, docked at Busan port for loading the first shipment.  HMM said that the new 24,000 TEU container fleet increased its shipping capacity to 700,000 TEU.  As a result, HMM became the 8th largest ocean container shipper in the world.  According to HMM, the new 24,000 TEU container ship uses 13 percent less fuel than 15,000 TEU ships.  HMM added that its 24,000 TEU container fleet is fully booked despite the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.  HMM plans to purchase additional ships and increase its capacity to 1 million TEU by the end of 2022.


Retailers Report Strong Sales Growth in Chuseok Gift Sets

Summary: Leading retail companies have reported strong sales growth in agricultural gift sets offered for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgivig Day, Sepember 30).  Hyundai Department Store reported 54 percent growth in sales during August 14 through September 11 compared to the same period last year.  Meat (up 99 percent), imported foods (up 226 percent), and alcoholic beverages (up 105 percent) led the growth.  EMART hypermarket store chain reported 20 percent growth during August 13 through September 10.  Retailers said that increased gift set sales was partly due to COVID-19 pandemic as many consumers opted for sending gifts to their family members and friends instead of visiting them during the Chuseok holiday.  The increased gift ceiling allowed under the Anti-Graft Act this year (from 100,000 won to 200,000 won / $83 USD to $166 USD) also contributed to the outstanding growth in gift set sales.


Traditional Street Market Launches On-line Shopping Platform

Summary: Dangjin street market in Chungnam province launched its on-line shopping platform, ‘Dangchanhankki’, on September 11.  Dangjin market said that the on-line shopping platform will help local producers and distributors who face serious challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic better market local agricultural products to consumers.  The platform offers a wide variety of products sold in the street market, including fresh agricultural products, HMR prepared foods, and take-out meals.


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