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Food News Clipping

November 23 -27, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, November 27, 2020

For Coverage: November 23 ~  27, 2020


Lotte Mart Stages California Pomegranate In-store Promotion

Summary: Lotte Mart, a leading hypermarket grocery retailer in South Korea, launched an in-store promotion on fresh California pomegranate on November 26, announcing the arrival of new season crops to consumers.  Tymothy McGuire, an Agricultural Attaché in the U.S. Embassy Seoul, together with his wife appeared in the launching ceremony held in Lotte Mart Seoul Station branch.


MAFRA Picks 'Anjirang Tripe Street, Daegu' the Best Restaurant Street in Korea

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on November 27 that 'Anjirang Gopchang Street' in Daegu city won its 'Best Restaurant Street in the Country 2020' award.  Gopchang is a Korean word for various dishes cooked from beef or pork intestine meat.  MAFRA said that the street, packed with 47 restaurants, offers delicious and creative dishes using high quality tripe ingredients.  


"Korean Government will Monitor International Grain Market Closely for Potential Disruption in Supply", MOEF Deputy Minister

Summary: YongBeom Kim, a Deputy Minister for the Korea Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), reported in a government planning meeting on November 27 that MOEF will monitor the international grain market closely in coming months for potential disruption in supply.  He explained that international market for key grains will likely remain unstable in 2021 due to challenging weather in South America and increased demand from China.  He said part of the government's effort will focus on supporting industry in securing stable supply networks with international partners.


GS Networks Equips 1,000 GS25 Convenience Stores with Frozen Pick-Up Boxes for On-line Grocery Purchases

Summary: GS Networks, a logistics service company under the umbrella of GS Group, reported on November 25 that it installed frozen pick-up boxes in 1,000 GS25 convenience stores.  GS Networks offer the frozen pick-up boxes to on-line shopping platforms and courier delivery companies.  GS Fresh Mall (on-line grocery store), Fresh Code (on-line fresh salad shop), and DHL are key clients.  Consumers may choose the GS25 store pick-up option for frozen or chilled agricultural products that they purchase from affiliated on-line shopping platforms.  GS Networks said that consumers can easily and safely pick up their on-line purchases in a nearby GS25 store on their way back home.


Korean Household Spending on Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Reaches Record High in Q3

Summary: The Korea National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that Korean households (with 2 or more people) spent 42,980 won ($37.4 USD) on alcohol and tobacco per month on average during the third quarter of 2020, up 10.7 percent from the same quarter last year.  Alcoholic beverage spending was 19,651 won ($17.1 USD) and tobacco spending was 23,329 won ($20.3 USD).  NSO said that both alcoholic beverage and tobacco spending were at record highs since the monthly household spending survey started in 2003.  NSO explained that the solid growth in spending was due to increased home drinking for alcoholic beverages and increased time at home for tobacco.


Growers are Required to Participate in Market Stabilization Policies under Mandatory Check-off Fund Programs

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on November 23 that a revision to the 'Agricultural Check-off Fund Program Act' took effect, requiring all growers to participate in market stabilization policies on crops under mandatory check-off fund programs.  According to MAFRA, there are 14 mandatory check-off fund programs, including ginseng, onions, and garlic, and 11 voluntary check-off fund programs, including persimmons, peaches, radishes, and Korean cabbage.  MAFRA said that some growers had been manipulating the mandatory check-off fund programs by not contributing the funds (about 1 percent of their sales) while benefiting from the system.  MAFRA added that growers who violate the mandatory check-off fund programs will be excluded from government supports.


Korean Government to Release 370,000 MT of Reserve Rice to Stabilize the Rice Market

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on November 24 that it will supply 370,000 metric tons of its reserve rice to the market in coming months to stabilize rice prices.  MAFRA said that the local rice harvest this year, 3.5 million metric tons, is 6.4 percent lower than last year and the market price of local rice is up 17 percent as of November as a result.

COSTCO Korea Allots $200 Million USD
in Stock Dividends to COSTCO USA

Summary: COSTCO Korea, which is owned 100 percent by COSTCO Wholesale USA, has decided to allot $200 million in stock dividends to COSTCO Wholesale USA, reflecting strong outcomes from FY2019.  According to COSTCO Korea's fiscal report, it generated $100 million in net profits in FY2019 (September 2019 - August 2020).  Marketers commented that the stock dividends seemed quite unusual as the amount is two times higher than the net profits gained in the fiscal year.


South Korea Raises COVID-19 Alert Status for Seoul Metropolitan Area to Level 2 ... All Restaurants are Mandated to Close by 9 P.M.

Summary: The South Korean government announced on November 22 that its COVID-19 alert status for the Seoul metropolitan area (SMA) will be raised to Level 2 from November 24.  The government explained that the daily number of new COVID-19 infections reported in the area went up sharply and remained over 300 over the last five days in a row.  The government is worried that the new infections will increase further in coming weeks both in SMA and other areas in the country.  Key measures under the Level 2 status include mandatory closing of high risk business operations such as dancing clubs and karaoke saloons, mandatory closing of restaurants and bars after 9 p.m., and take-out only operations in cafes.


Japanese Beer Stages Aggressive Price Promotions with '4 Cans for 10,000 Won' Deals

Summary: Sales of Japanese beer in South Korea plummeted this year as the 'No Japan' consumer campaign continued.  Asahi, a leading Japanese beer brand, reportedly launched aggressive price discount promotions in some of the leading retail stores in November, offering four cans of its flagship beer for 10,000 won ($8.7 USD), which is 17 percent cheaper than the regular price.  Stores participating in the promotion include Lotte Mart and EMART (hypermarket grocery store chains), CU and Seven Eleven (convenience store chains), and GS The Fresh and Lotte Fresh (grocery supermarket chains).  Marketers are monitoring outcomes of the promotion to see if sales of Japanese beer will rebound. 


South Korea Shares Its Experiences and Insights on Agricultural Development with 19 Countries

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) reported that it hosted 'Korea-International Agricultural Partnership Conference 2020' on November 22.  MAFRA said that the conference took place on-line this year; 130 government and private sector professionals from 19 countries participated in the conference.  The conference started in 2019 as many countries around the world requested South Korea to share its experiences and insights on agricultural development.



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Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Embassy - Seoul
Tel: 82-2-6951-6848 Fax: 82-2-720-7921