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Food News Clipping

May 1 ~ 7, 2021



FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Monday, May 10, 2021

For Coverage: May 1 ~ 7, 2021



83% of Consumers Purchase Meal Kits, Up from 66% in 2019

Summary: MesoMedia, a digital marketing service in Korea, reported outcomes of its on-line consumer survey on May 7.  According to the report, 83 percent of consumers (19 to 49 years old) answered that they purchased meal kits this year, much higher than 2019 (66 percent) and 2018 (56 percent) surveys.  Consumers answered that 'easy cooking' (68 percent) and 'restaurant quality meals' (44 percent) were key reasons for purchasing meal kits.


CU Convenience Store Chain Reports 8% Sales Growth in the First Quarter

Summary: CU, the leading convenience store franchise in Korea, reported on May 7 that its cash-register sales totaled 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion USD) in the first quarter this year, up 8 percent from the same quarter last year.  CU explained that increased consumer traffic during the quarter led to the solid business outcome.  CU added that Home-Meal-Replacement (HMR) products and alcoholic beverages saw the most sales growth during the quarter.


Orion Reports 12% Sales Growth in the First Quarter

Summary: Orion, Co., a leading snack processor in Korea, reported on May 7 that its sales revenue during the first quarter totaled 600 billion won ($550 million USD), up 11.5 percent from the same quarter last year.  Orion explained that both domestic and international sales generated solid growth during the quarter.  Orion added that snack products (up 7.6 percent) led the sales growth during the quarter.


ePhyto Implemented for Agricultural Imports/Exports Customs Between the U.S and Korea

Summary: Koreas Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency announced it will introduce ePhytos (electronic phytosanitary certificates) with the U.S. starting May 10.  Korea and the U.S. recently conducted a pilot program of the system.


60% Consumers Cut Down Fishery Consumption After Fukushima Announced Plans to Release Radioactive Water

Summary: According to Consumers Koreas survey (n=500), 60% of consumers reported deep concern about seafood safety since the Japanese government announced plans to release radioactive water.  91% plan to reduce fishery consumption and 63% have already reduced consumption.  On a scale from 1 (Not safe at all) to 7 (Very Safe), their perception of Japanese fishery safety was 1.58 and Chinese fishery safety was 2.00 The perception of the safety of other imported fishery products, including Russia, the U.S., and Norway, was 4.34 points.


2020 Alcohol Imports Down 13.7%... 404k Tons in Total

Summary: According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), alcohol imports in 2020 totaled 404k tons, down 3.7% from 2019.  Beer imports decreased by 22.8% mainly due to nationwide boycott against Japanese products.  On the other hand, wine imports increased 30.4% reflecting home drinking trends, especially wines priced under 10,000 won (about $9).


 Price of Freshwater Eels Plunges to 5 Year Low due to Reduced Restaurant Demand

Summary: The wholesale market price of freshwater eels, a premium fish in Korea, was 24,700 won per kilogram ($22.4) in February 2021, down 39 percent from the same month in the previous year.  The sharp decline in price was due to reduced restaurant demand during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as increased supply from the 2020 breeding cycle.  The majority of freshwater eels supplied in Korea are farmed from glass eels.  Glass eels are brought into the farm during winter months of December to February, and are bred about a year before being supplied to the market.  Due to the weak price, eel farms have reportedly reduced entry of new glass eels in their farms this year.  According to the Korea Marine and Fishery Development Agency, the amount of glass eels newly brought into local farms during December 2020 through February 2021 totaled 3,297 kilograms, down 29 percent from the 2019-2020 season.  Marketers forecast that the reduced entry of new glass eels should drive up the market price of eels in 2022.



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