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Food News Clipping

October 20 -23, 2020


AS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday,  October 23, 2020

For Coverage: October 20 ~  23, 2020

Shinsegae Department Store Introduces 'Stroodles', Eatable Straws Imported from U.K.

Summary: Shinsegae Department Store staged an in-store launching promotion on 'Stroodles' on October 22 in its flagship branch in Myungdong, Seoul.  According to Shinsegae Department Store, Stroodles is an environment-friendly straws made from pasta (it can be cooked after use).  Stroodles is an invention by a U.K. start-up company.


High Distribution Costs are Responsible for High Retail Price of Fish

Summary: According to a report by the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries (MMF) submitted to the National Assembly audit on October 22, high distribution costs are responsible for the high retail price of fish.  For example, the distribution cost accounted for 66.9 percent of the retail price for mackerel in 2019, followed by 57.2 percent for pollack, 44.1 percent for hairtail, and 39.5 percent for yellow corbina.  The high distribution cost is due to the fact that the supply chain for fish involves as many as 5 tiers of middleman distributors, including auction markets and wholesalers before reaching retail stores.


South Koreans Increased On-line Shopping the Most During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dunnhumby Survey

Summary: Dunnhumby, a U.K. based international market research firm, reported on October 22 that South Korean consumers increased on-line shopping the most during the COVID-19 pandemic according to its recent survey in 20 leading markets around the world in August-September 2020.  57 percent of Korean consumers surveyed answered that they increased on-line shopping after the COVID-19 pandemic, which was much higher than the 25 percent average increase.  60 percent of Korean consumers also answered that they were shopping for food delivery services on-line after the COVID-19 pandemic, again much higher than the 27 percent average across all surveyed countries.

(Table: Consumer Shopping Pattern Changes due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dunnhumby Survey August-September 2020)

South Korea

20 Market Average

I have reduced store visits.



I now purchase food deliveries on-line.



I have increased on-line shopping.



I now purchase take-out foods.




Seoul City Hosts Online Food Festival, October 26-31

Summary: Seoul City will host ‘2020 Seoul Food Festival’ October 26-31 via youtube channels and other online platforms. The festival will feature seventeen different programs, including cooking classes and food seminars under the theme of ‘COVID-19 Era, Sustainable Food’.  Details of the programs are available at


Restaurant Industry Lost 180,000 Jobs during the First Half 2020

Summary: According to the Korea National Statistics Office (NSO) report, the number of people employed in the restaurant industry totaled 1.55 million during the first half 2020, which was 179,000 (or 10.3 percent) less than the same period last year.  NSO said that it was the largest decline since the job survey started in 2013.


U.S. Dollar - Korean Won Exchange Rate Declines Below 1,140

Summary: The value of Korean won against the U.S. dollar rose to mark 1,139 won per USD on October 20.  The Bank of Korea explained that the value of Korean won had been recovering from the impact of COVID-19.


ROKG to Introduce Annual Duty-free Ceiling on Consumer Direct Imports for Personal Consumption

Summary: The Korea Customs Office (KCO) reported on October 19 that it would introduce annual duty-free ceiling on consumer direct imports from foreign on-line shops for personal consumption.  KCO explained that some consumers were abusing the duty-free channel and were reselling the purchases to other consumers as indicated by the fact that the top 20 direct import consumers made 71 purchases a month on average this year through August.  KCO currently exempts import duties on shipments that consumers purchased and imported from foreign on-line shops for personal consumption if the value of the shipment is $150 or less (or $200 or less from U.S. based shops) each.  KCO added that the annual duty-free ceiling would be implemented as early as 2022.


Samyang Food Starts 200 Billion Won Project to Add an Instant Noodle Factory in Milyang City to Meet Increased Export Opportunities

Summary: Samyang Food, a leading instant noodle processor in South Korea, announced that its 200 billion won ($174 million) project to build its third instant noodle processing factory in Milyang city, Gyeongnam province, kicked off on October 19.  The factory will process up to 600 million instant noodles a year upon completion in 2022.  Samyang said that the factory will be dedicated to produce products for export markets in the long run.


Retail Stores Report Strong Wine Sales

Summary: Retailers continue to see solid growth in wine sales partly due to the introductions of low-price wines targeting novice drinkers and increased social and personal gatherings later in the year.  EMART24, a major convenience store chain in Korea, reported that wine generated the 4th largest sales among different product categories in its stores during October 1 - 18.  EMART, the leading hypermarket chain, reported that wine generated the 10th largest sales in its stores among some 700 product categories this year through September.  Lotte Mart, another major hypermarket chain, reported that its wine sales this year through September increased 71.4 percent compared to the same period last year.  


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