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Food News Clipping

November 3- 13, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, November 13, 2020

For Coverage: November 3 ~  13, 2020

Korean Rice Harvest This Year Amounts to 3.5 Million MT, Lowest in 52 Years

Summary: The Korean government reported on November 12 that the local rice harvest this year amounted to 3.5 million metric tons, down 6.4 percent from the previous year and the lowest amount in 52 years.  The government explained that unfavorable weather, including an extended monsoon season and typhoon damage, was the key cause for the poor harvest.  As a result, rice prices in the wholesale market jumped 14 percent from last year to 215,404 won ($187 USD) per 80 kilogram bag on average.


Korea to Improve Food Sufficiency Rate by 2030

Summary: South Korean president, Moon Jae In, said in his speech at the National Farmers Day reception on November 11 that the Korean government would improve the national food sufficiency rate on key agricultural crops by 2030.  He specified target sufficiency rate on wheat (10 percent) and soybean (45 percent) in his speech.  Marketers said that the goals are quite ambitious considering the current sufficiency rates on the crops (wheat 0.7 percent and soybean 26.7 percent).


EMART Reports Strong Q3 Outcomes amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: EMART, Inc., a leading retail company in South Korea, reported that it generated 5.9 trillion won ($5.1 billion USD) in cash-register sales and 151 billion won ($131 million USD) in operating profits during the third quarter, up 17 percent and 30 percent respectively from the same quarter last year.  EMART explained that outstanding performances by its conventional (particularly Traders warehouse discount stores) and on-line divisions were the drivers of this sales growth.  


Korean Food Processors Report Strong Q3 Outcomes due to Increased Home Dining

Summary: Leading Korean food processors reported strong business outcomes during the third quarter of 2020.  CJ Cheiljedang, the leading processor in the country, reported 9 percent and 72 percent growth in its sales (3.7 trillion won) and operating profits (311 billion won) during the quarter compared to the same period last year.  Orion, another leading players in the industry, reported 13 percent and 6 percent growth in sales and operation profits.  Marketers explained that increased consumer demand for processed foods including Home Meal Replacement foods during the COVID-19 pandemic were the key drivers of these outcomes.


Korean Economy to Grow -1.1% in 2020 and 3.1% in 2021, KDI Forecast

Summary: The Korea Development Institute (KDI), a Korean government think tank, reported on November 11 that the Korean economy will decline 1.1 percent this year but would grow 3.1 percent in 2021.  The KDI November forecast for 2020 growth remained unchanged but 2021 forecast growth was 0.4 percentage point lower than the September forecast.


Korean Consumers Prefer Imported Beer for Value, Quality and Diversity, KSA Survey

Summary: The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) released outcomes of its recent consumer survey on beer preference.  The survey found that Korean consumers prefer imported beer over local beer for value, quality and diversity.  79 percent of consumers replied that they were purchasing imported beer at least once a month.  Belgium was the most preferred origin for imported beer (picked by 22.6 percent of the consumers), followed by the United States (20.8 percent) and China (20.6 percent).


Starbucks Korea Reports Record Sales during Q3 Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: Starbucks Korea, the leading player in the cafe market, reported that it generated a record 486 billion won ($324 million USD) in cash-register sales during the third quarter in 2020, up 5.0 percent from the same quarter last year and 1.0 percent from the previous quarter.  Aggregated sales for 2020 through the third quarter were 5.4 percent higher than the same period last year.  Operating profits through the third quarter totaled 129 billion won ($112 million USD), up 10.0 percent from the same period last year.  Aggressive opening of new stores was the key driver for the outcomes.  The number of Starbucks stores in Korea increased by 95 through the third quarter to 1,473.


Seoul City Government to Stage 'Taste of Seoul 2020', November 11-15

Summary: Seoul City Government (SCG) announced that it will stage 'Taste of Seoul 2020' from November 11-15.  SCG said that the week-long event will highlight Seoul as an international culinary destination, offering a variety of consumer events under the themes of 'on-line restaurant experience' and 'comfort food experience'.  For 'on-line restaurant experience', SCG published 'Top 100 Restaurants and Bars in Seoul', a guidebook that lists some of the most popular places to dine and drink in the city.  Most of the restaurants listed will offer special menus and consumer promotions during the week.  In particular, SCG will work with 12 of the restaurants and offer their menus at half prices to consumers via an on-line home delivery shopping platform.  SCG will also organize live, on-line cooking classes by celebrity chefs during the week.  SCG will run a city tour bus program that will stop in popular areas in the city for street foods.


BaeSangMyunJuGa Offers Rice Wine for On-line Shopping and Same Day Home Delivery

Summary: BaeSangMyunJuGa (BSM), a leading producer of rice wine and distilled rice wine in South Korea, reported that on October 19 it launched 'same day delivery service' on its on-line shopping platform.  BSM said that on-line purchases made before 3 p.m. would be delivered to the consumers by 8 p.m.  BSM also offers various prepared dishes in the on-line shopping platform so that consumers can enjoy its food and alcoholic beverages together at home.  BSM added that its on-line sales saw 28 percent growth since launching same day delivery service as consumers can enjoy fresher beverages.  On-line sales of alcoholic beverages are currently prohibited in South Korea.  However, the Korean government revised the regulation in 2018 to allow on-line sales for locally made traditional alcoholic beverages.


Lotte Shopping Co. Closed 99 Stores This Year

Summary: Lotte Shopping Co., a leading retail company in South Korea, reported that its reorganization project closed 99 stores under its conventional retail business format, including Lotte Department Stores, Lotte Fresh grocery supermarkets, and LoHB drugstores in 2020.  Lotte Shopping Co. said the reorganization project will continue in coming years under the goal of closing some 30 percent of its conventional retail businesses. 


Seoul Cafe Show 2020 Opens for Visitors on November 4

Summary: Seoul Cafe Show, the largest cafe-food service industry exhibition in Asia, opened its floor for visitors on November 4.  The show, which will last until November 7, will bring a large number of suppliers, buyers, and consumers together for in-person meetings and interactions.


"One Third of Eggs Offered in Retail Stores are the Lowest Grade Quality", a NGO Survey

Summary: The Korean Consumer Coalition (KCC), a NGO consumer group, reported that its market survey in September found a serious quality issue in the eggs offered in retail stores.  KCC explained that it took 3,500 eggs of 70 brands from various retail stores for quality inspection by the Korea Livestock Quality Assessment Agency.  The inspection results found that 31.4 percent of the eggs were the lowest quality (grade 2).  Another 37.1 percent and 31.4 percent of the eggs were top (1+) and medium (1) grade quality respectively.  KCC added that more than half of the stores offered eggs in room-temperature shelves without refrigeration.  KCC said the government should mandate a quality grade labeling on the egg product packaging so that consumers can make informed purchase decisions. 


Avian Influenza Testing in a Duck Farm in Gochang Came out Negative

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on November 2 that its avian influenza (AI) testing in a duck farm in Gochang county, Junbuk province found no infection.  The farm that raises 15,000 ducks reported possible high-pathogen AI outbreak on November 1 based on increased deaths of chicks for unidentified reasons.  MAFRA found H5N5 high-pathogen AI virus in migrating bird feces in Chungnam province on October 25.


LG Electronics Offer Barista Robots ... Intends to Launch More Models for Food Service Industry

Summary: LG Electronics staged a coffee tasting event in its research headquarter in Seoul, introducing its new 'Cloy' barista robot.  LG Electronics said that the 'Cloy' robot division will launch additional models targeting the food and health care service industry.


Fishermen Protest against Chinese Illegal Fishing in the East Sea

Summary: A group of 100 fishermen gathered in Pohang port on the eastern seaboard on November 2 and staged a protest against Chinese illegal fishing in the east sea.  The fishermen demanded stronger government intervention, claiming that some 1,000 Chinese boats appeared in the east sea recently and violated over fishing regulations.  


Hyundai Department Store Offers Steamed Lobsters and Crabs for Home Delivery

Summary: Hyundai Department Store, a leading department store chain in South Korea, started to offer steamed and ready-to-eat lobsters and crabs for home delivery on November 2.  Hyundai Department Store said that the service is its response to increased consumer demand for premium yet convenient seafood products.  Consumers may place on-line orders by midnight and Hyundai Department Store would purchase, steam, and deliver the crabs and lobsters to the consumers the next morning.  Hyundai Department Store added that it would introduce additional prepared premium seafood products for quick home delivery orders.






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