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Food News Clipping

February 26 - March 5, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, March 5, 2021

For Coverage: February 26 ~  March 5, 2021


Agricultural Prices Saw the Largest Increase in 10 Years 
Summary: The Korea National Statistics Office (NSO) reported on March 4 that prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products in Korea increased 16.2 percent in February 2021 compared to the same month in the previous year.  NSO said that it was the largest increase since February 2011.  Cold weather during the last winter coupled with reduced harvest last year was the key driver.  The products with the largest price increase were green onions (227 percent), apples (55 percent), pork (18 percent), eggs (42 percent), rice (13 percent), and beef (11 percent). 


Local Hybrid Orange 'Chung Gyoun' Announces New Season Start 
Summary: Chung Gyoun, a hybrid orange variety (tangerine crossed with orange) grown locally in Jeju island and the southern park of Korea started a new season with a promotional event in Hanaro Mart Yangjae branch on March 4.  The season will last until mid-April.  A 1.2 kilogram box of oranges are offered at 8,800 won (about $8 USD). 


One Third of Ingredients are Imported at Restaurants, as Local Agricultural & Fishery Prices Jump 
Summary: According to the Korea Food Service Industry Research (KFSIR), 34.1% of ingredients at restaurants were imported.  Fishery showed the largest dependence on imports (64.9%), while livestock (31.7%) and agricultural products (18.0%) followed.  The researcher said restaurant owners started to prefer imported ingredients because of the cheap price and uniform quality. 
Market Kurly Opens a New Distribution Warehouse for Fresh Food 

Summary: Market Kurly, a leading on-line grocery food shopping platform, reported that its new distribution warehouse opened in Gimpo city on March 2.  Market Kurly said that the warehouse has 82,000 sq. meters of highly automated operation space, the largest capacity in the industry.  The warehouse will distribute on-line orders of dry, chilled and frozen foods and prepared meals in the Seoul metropolitan area. 


Convenience Stores Report Strong Wine Sales in January-February 

Summary: EMART25, a leading convenience store chain, reported that its wine sales during January and February this year increased almost 300 percent from the same period last year.  Seven Eleven Korea also reported a strong 217 percent growth in wine sales.   Marketers said that the growth was mainly due to increased home drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Major convenience store chains have recently expanded wine offers and promotions to target new and young wine consumers. 


California Walnut Commission Launches the Power of 3 Campaign 
Summary: The California Walnut Commission initiated a global marketing project to promote the health benefits of walnuts.  The name Power of 3 is to highlight that walnuts contain Omega 3 alpha linolenic acid (2.7g/30g).  Target countries are Korea, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, Turkey, the U.K., and the Middle East. 


Imported Beer Sales Show Sign of Recovery Up 18% in January, EMART 

Summary: EMART, the leading grocery hypermarket chain in South Korea, reported that its cash-register sales of imported beer increased 18.2 percent in January 2021 compared to the same month last year.  EMART said that it was the first month-over-month sales growth in imported beer since June 2019.  Sales of imported beer in EMART have been on a continuous decline, triggered by anti-Japan consumer sentiment in 2019.  Korean imports of Japanese beer declined 93 percent as a result of the consumer sentiment from $78 million in 2018 to $6 million in 2020.  EMART said the recovery in imported beer sales in January was partly led by products in keg containers (5 liters in general) and new products brewed with fruit flavors. 
148 Cross-Border Shopping Commodities have been Blocked from Entering the Country 
Summary: 148 out of 1630 overseas delivery items were blocked at the border in 2020 according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). 56 items contained illegal pharmaceutical substances, 79 contained ingredients connected to mad cow disease, 11 were products with an asphyxiation concern, and 2 contained non-permissible pigments. As consumers demands for overseas direct purchasing increases due to the COVID-19 situation, the government is planning to further strengthen safety management by expanding the number of inspections. 



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