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Food News Clipping

May 13 - 28, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, May 28, 2021

For Coverage: May 13 ~  28, 2021

Chobani, #1 U.S. Greek Yogurt, Enters South Korea 
Summary: SPC 
Samlip, a leading food processor in Korea under the umbrella of SPC Group, announced on May 27 that it signed an exclusive contract with Chobani USA to market the leading U.S. Greek yogurt brand in South Korea.  SPC Samlip said that Chobani products will be launched in local stores 
this July.  Some of the products will be processed locally using imported ingredients.  SPC Samlip added that Chobani will lead its strategy to expand business in the $1 billion yogurt market in South Korea. 
South Korean Food Exports Hit Record $4.3 Billion in 2020 
Summary: The Korea Customs Office reported that Korean food exports 
reached a record $4.3 billion in 2020, up 15 percent from the previous year.  Instant noodles ($600 million, up 29 percent), microwavable rice meals ($37 million, up 53 percent), frozen dumplings ($51 million, up 46 percent), and Kimchi ($145 million, up 38 percent) were some of the products that led the outstanding growth of Korean food exports. 
Hyundai Department Store Introduces Animal-Welfare Certified 
Hanwoo Beef for the First Time 
Summary: Hyundai Department Store announced that it started to offer 'Animal-Welfare' certified local beef on May 26.  Hyundai said that it was the first 'Animal-Welfare' certified 
Hanwoo beef marketed in Korea. 
Government Inspection Finds Origin Labeling Violations in 91 Flower Retailers 
Summary: The Korea National Agricultural Quality Management Service (NAQS) reported on May 25 that its recent inspections in the local flower market found 91 retailers who violated country-of-origin labeling regulations.  The most common violation (84 retailers) was offering imported flowers with no origin labels.  Carnations were the leading product that retailers offered under faulty origin labels (78 retailers).  
Korean Consumer Sentiment Index Recovers to Pre-COVID Level in May 
Summary: The Bank of Korea (BOK) reported that its consumer confidence survey index (CCSI) was 105.2 in May, up 3 points from April.  BOK said that the index hit a 35 month high, recovering back to the pre-COVID levels (104.8 in January 2020).    
Plant Beverage Market in Korea Up 6% in 2020, Euromonitor 
Summary: Euromonitor Korea reported on May 26 that the plant beverage market in South Korea generated $493 million in sales in 2020, up 6 percent from the previous year.  Euromonitor said that the rise of plant beverages such as oat and almond milk was mainly driven by consumers with lactose-intolerance.  Euromonitor added that increased consumer attention to environmental issues will provide more growth momentum for plant beverages in coming years. 
No Brand Burger Reaches 100 Stores … Plans to Open 1,200 New Stores within 5 Years 
Summary: No Brand Burger, a burger restaurant franchise under Shinsegae Food Co., reported that its 100th store opened in Landers Baseball Park, Incheon city on May 8.  No Brand Burger said that it was the fastest growing burger restaurant chain in Korea since it started operation in 2019.  Its strategy to offer better value under the theme of "why pay more?" gained solid consumer awareness.  No Brand Burger plans to become the leading burger restaurant chain in Korea within the next five years, opening another 1,200 new stores. 
16% of Restaurants in Seoul Closed as Gatherings of Five People or More Banned 
Summary: According to Sinhan Card, the number of restaurants in Seoul has decreased 16% from last year.  Korean and western restaurants, which are preferred for family gatherings, have significantly decreased (number of Korean restaurants down 17.1% and western restaurants down 10.9%).  Fast-food, Chinese, and Japanese food restaurants were much less damaged (fast-food restaurants were up 7.6%, Japanese restaurants up 18.3%, and Chinese restaurants up 4%). 
ROKG Forecasts Lower Local Harvests for Onions and Garlic This Year 
Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) forecasted that local harvests for onions and garlic this year will decline 7.5 percent and 22 percent respectively compared average production of 1.1 million metric tons and 320,000 metric tons.  MAFRA said that it would implement measures to stabilize the market price accordingly, including expanding government reserve stocks. 


A U.S. Infant Meal is Banned from Consumer Direct Imports due to High Lead Residues 

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) reported on May 24 that its recent inspections on 165 U.S. origin infant meal products in the market found one product that does not meet the Korean food safety standards for heavy metal residue.  21 of the products were marketed by Korean import distributors while the remaining 144 products were marketed by foreign on-line retailers for consumer direct imports.  The product that failed the MFDS inspection was 'Just Sweet Potato' infant meal processed by Plum Organics USA.  The amount of lead found in the product was 0.02 mg/kg, which was higher than the safety limit, 0.01 mg/kg.  MFDS said that the product was marketed by foreign on-line retailers and MFDS would not allow entry of the product into Korea until the food safety risk is resolved.  


Greating Offers Takeout Meals with Catered Nutrition Recipes 

Summary: Hyundai Green Food, a leading foodservice processor in South Korea, staged a sales promotion in Hyundai Department Store Gangnam branch on May 20, featuring its Greating brand takeout meals.  Hyundai Green Food said that Greating products offer catered nutrition recipes for individual consumers, including 'beauty-fit', 'KETO', and 'Protein Up'.  


MAFRA Minister HS Kim Discusses Cooperation Plans with the USDA Secretary Vilsack 

Summary: On the morning of the May 13th, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Hyun Soo held a virtual meeting with Thomas Vilsack, the Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture, to discuss the bilateral need for international cooperation and world food security.  The two countries agreed to continue bilateral cooperation on agricultural and rural development.  Minister Kim requested the United States' participation in the P4G Summit (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) hosted by Korea, May 30-31, and joint efforts to respond to the impact of climate change on the agricultural and rural sectors.  The meeting was arranged at the request of the United States with the inauguration of USDA Secretary Vilsack in February. 


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