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Food News Clipping

December 6 - 11, 2020


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Monday, December 14, 2020

For Coverage: December 6 ~  11, 2020


Korean Near Sea Fishing Shifts Significantly due to Climate Change and Chinese Over fishing

Summary: According to 'Korea Fishery Industry Statistics 2020' released by the Korea National Statistics Office (NSO) on December 11, Korean near sea fishing has shifted significantly over the years mainly due to climate change and Chinese over fishing.  Climate change has increased sea water temperatures and reduced cold-water fishery resources as a result.  For example, Korea's annual catch of pacific pollack declined from 13,000 metric tons in 1970 down to zero in 2019.  On the other hand, warm water fishery resources have increased, generating increased annual catch in related species such as anchovy (218 percent growth during 1970-2019 to 172,000 metric tons) and mackerel (166 percent growth during the period to 101,000 metric tons in 2019).  Chinese over fishing has reduced annual catch in squid (from 72,000 metric tons in 1970 to 52,000 metric tons in 2019), hair tail (from 69,000 metric tons in 1970 to 43,000 metric tons in 2019), and yellow corbina (from 32,000 metric tons in 1970 to 26,000 metric tons in 2019).


Coupang Establishes Shanghai Branch to Service Consumer Direct Imports of Chinese Goods

Summary: Coupang, a leading on-line shopping platform in South Korea, reported that it recently established Coupang Shanghai Trading Co., Ltd.  Coupang explained that the Shanghai branch is part of Coupang's strategy to expand its 'consumer direct import' business.  Coupang has been servicing consumer direct imports from U.S. suppliers since 2017 by establishing a U.S. branch.  Coupang currently offers some 6.3 million products from foreign suppliers for Korean consumers to shop on-line.  Coupang works as an intermediary handler of the purchases by taking care of payment, consolidation, air shipping, customs clearance, and refunds for complaints.  Coupang will expand its 'consumer direct import' business to other countries in the future.  Korean consumers' direct imports from China amounted to $177 million during the third quarter this year, up 28 percent from the same quarter last year.  China was the third largest origin for consumer direct imports during the third quarter after the U.S. ($370 million) and the EU ($219 million).


CU Introduces Drive-thru Pickup Service at 500 Stores
Summary: CU, a leading convenience store franchise in South Korea, announced on December 10 that it started to offer drive-thru pickup service at 500 of its stores.  Consumers who make on-line purchases in advance may designate a store for drive-thru pickup.  Consumers will call the store upon arrival and the store staff will bring the purchases to the vehicle.

Single Person Households Reaches 6.1 Million in 2019
Summary: According to Korea National Statistics Office (NSO) data, the number of single person households in Korea totaled 6.1 million in 2019.  Single person households accounted for 30.2 percent of overall households in the country, which was a significant increase from 27.2 percent in 2015.  NSO said that single person households will likely continue to increase in coming years.


Korean Government Confirms Two Additional Outbreaks of High-Pathogenic Avian Influenza … Total 4 Cases Confirmed as of December 8

Summary: The Korean government confirmed two additional cases of high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks in local poultry farms in Youngam, Junranamdo province and Yeoju, Gyeonggi province on December 8.  The total number of HPAI outbreaks confirmed in the country increased to four as a result.  The government reported that the four outbreaks were in four different provinces and there was no linkage found among the cases.  The government added that the outbreaks would have little impact on the poultry and egg market.


Korean Exports of Gim (Dried Laver) Expand

Summary: Korean exports of gim (dried laver) have expanded five fold over the last 10 years, amounting to $580 million in 2019.  Key export markets, including the United States and China, will likely generate additional demand as more consumers develop a taste for this unique Korean seaweed product.  Gim exports to the United States this year through October reached $115 million, up 24 percent from the same period last year.  Leading Korean food processors are making efforts to offer more diversified flavors targeting foreign consumers.  CJ Cheiljedang, Dongwon, and Daesang are some of the leading players in the industry.


Korean Food Processors to Expand 'Direct to Consumer' Business

Summary: On-line shopping has become a new normal for many Korean consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  To cope with the market shift, Korean food processors are investing in developing on-line shopping platforms to sell products directly to consumers (Direct to Consumer, D2C).  For example, Yakult Korea announced recently that its D2C platform, Fredit Mall, will launch on December 15.  CJ Cheiljedang, the leading processor in Korea, already launched its D2C platform, 'The CJ Market', last year and secured 2.6 million member shoppers to date.  CJ Cheiljedang renovated the platform on November 15 this year, offering bigger discounts and delivery fee membership incentives.  The CJ Market will likely generate 70 billion won in sales ($61 million) this year, up 40 percent from last year. 


Consumers Increase Pork Meat Consumption as They Increase Home Dining due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: The Korea Ag Outlook Center reported on December 7 that Korean households purchased 5.99 kilograms of pork meat on average between July 10 through October 11, up 11.5 percent from the same period last year.  Local meat accounted for 3.96 kilogram of the purchase, up 16.5 percent.  Imported meat accounted for 2.03 kilogram of the purchase, up 3 percent.  Pork meat prices in wholesale markets in November averaged 4,222 won ($3.7) per kilogram, up 14 percent from the same month last year.


BBQ Opens 100th Delivery Only Store

Summary: BBQ, the leading fried chicken restaurant franchise in South Korea, reported that its 'BBQ Smart Kitchen (BSK) store opened its 100th branch on December 4.  BSK store, launched in May this year, services home delivery and take-out orders only.


EMART Introduces Premium Meal Kits Developed by Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul

Summary: EMART, the leading hypermarket grocery store chain in South Korea, started to offer premium meal kits developed by Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul.  The launching promotion staged in Sungsoo branch on December 6 introduced a diverse range of meal kits to shoppers.  EMART said that 100,000 units of the meal kits were sold on the on-line shopping platform SSG.Com since launching in August.



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