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Food News Clipping

August 28 - September 3, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, September 3, 2021

For Coverage: August  28 ~ September 3, 2021


Switch to Volume-based Liquor Tax Reduced Imported Beer Prices by 6.2%

Summary: The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) reported on September 3 that the average retail price of imported beer (10 leading brands) in retail stores was 3,165 won ($2.7) per 500 milliliter aluminum can during the first half of this year, down 6.2 percent from the same period in 2019.  KCA said that the price decline was due to the introduction of a volume-based liquor tax.  The Korean government switched to a volume-based liquor tax for beer in January 2020, which reduced the tax burden significantly on premium products compared to the previous value-based tax.  On the other hand, the effect of volume-based tax was minimal for local beer made by large-scale breweries.  KCA reported that the average price of local beer made by the four large-scale Korean breweries was 2,145 won ($1.9) per 500 milliliter aluminum can, up 0.5 percent.  KCA added that the volume-based tax allowed for rapid expansion of beer made by local craft breweries as indicated by the fact that the number of local craft beers offered in retail stores increased to 64 during the first half this year, up from 16 in 2019.


Goesan County Develops Organic Corn Seeds

Summary: Goesan county, Choongbuk province reported on September 2 that it harvested 100 kilograms of organic corn seeds which will be offered to local organic farms.  Goesan county said that the organic seeds are the 'Golden Chewy' variety it developed and cultivated organically.  The county added that the organic seeds will allow farms to cultivate truly organic corn as the farms relied on conventional seeds in the past.


Diageo Korea Offers Single Malt Scotch Whiskey for On-line "Smart Order' Purchases

Summary: Diageo Korea announced on September 1 that it started to offer its single malt Scotch whiskey, 'Singleton 12 Years Old' for on-line 'smart order' purchases.  Consumers can order the whiskey on partner retail chains’ smartphone applications (GS, EMART, CU, and Seven Eleven) for in-person pick-up in partner stores.  Korean regulations allow on-line sales of alcoholic beverages only for in-person store pick-ups.


Chuseok Memorial Ceremony will Cost Korean Families $230 for Food Ingredients

Summary: The Korea Price Information Service (KPIS) reported on August 31 that it would cost each Korean family 270,000 won ($230 USD) to purchase food ingredients needed to prepare for the memorial ceremony during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) this year if they shop in traditional wet markets.  The cost will be higher, 380,000 won ($330 USD), in hypermarket grocery stores.  Food costs this year are 1.5 percent higher than last year.  Food ingredients needed for the ceremony include beef, fresh fruits, and fish.


Korean Bio-mass Power Plants to Switch to Local Renewable Resources in 2025 … Imports of Wood Pellets will Likely to Decline Sharply

Summary: The three bio-mass power plant companies in South Korea (SGC Energy, Hanwha Energy, and OCI SE) signed a voluntary agreement on September 1 to abide by revised Renewable Energy Certification (REC) standards.  The revised REC standards will not recognize wood pellets as a priority renewable resource from 2025.  As a result, use of wood pellets in the bio-mass power plants will likely decline sharply once the new standards take effect.  The agreement is an outcome of increased criticism in the market that old REC standards have not promoted development of a sustainable supply chain for locally available renewable resources in the industry, while allowing power plants to take advantage of the system by using imported wood pellets to meet government requirements for renewable resource use.  The three bio-mass power plants burn 1.6 million metric tons of wood pellets a year which is mostly (90 percent) supplied by imports from distant foreign origins.  The value of the imported wood pellets used in the industry amount to $220 million a year.  The Korea Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) commented that the revised standards will allow the bio-mass power plant industry to switch to local renewable resources, including wood by-products from local forests.


Collaboration Products of Fashion and Food Industries Becoming More Popular

Summary: Collaborative products between the fashion and food industries are gaining popularity among consumers.  Companies are targeting the MZ generation by reflecting “fun Sumer” trends: seeks fun in consumption.


Pulmuone Participates in Korea’s First Food Digital Cluster Construction Project

Summary: Pulmuone is leading the way in strengthening global competitiveness in the food industry by establishing Korea’s first data-based digital cluster smart factory for food.  Digital clusters are projects linked to the government’s new deal policy.  Using a data network optimizes the operation of factories.  With this opportunity, Pulmuone will be a model to increase industry competitiveness.


New Products for Chuseok … Reflect Eco-friendly and Staying Home Trends

Summary: The food industry released new gifts sets for Chuseok reflecting trends.  The gifts have incorporated eco-friendly elements that minimize packaging materials.  Products targeting the ‘stay home’ trend have also been introduced, as well as products targeting single households and incorporating high-end food ingredients.


Vote for Your Beer … Food Industry Targeting “Prosumers”

Summary: Food and restaurant industries are developing new products that reflect consumer tastes.  They are targeting “prosumers”: consumers who like to be involved in the development of a product.  Lotte allows consumers to participate in the product selection process directly through auditions, while Starbucks has launched a drink recipe that included input from customers.  Unlike in the past, companies reflect the way consumers participate in the process.  This also has the advantage of enabling consumer responses and demand forecasting.


Japanese Beer: No.1 Imported Beer in 2018 but Plunged to No.10
Summary: Despite the social distancing caused by Covid 19, imports of alcoholic beverages increased by 8%.  In particular, demand for wine and high-end alcohol has increased due to the ongoing trend of 'drinking at home'.  According to the Korea Customs Service, last year wine imports reached the highest level ever.  In the case of beer, Japanese beer imports fell sharply as domestic craft beer became popular.  Note: Japanese beer was also impacted by a consumer boycott of Japanese goods. 


Apple Cider Market Emerges as MZ Consumers Gain Awareness

Summary: Restaurants and pubs in the Hongdae area in Seoul, a hot place for young consumers in the city, have seen their apple cider sales increase significantly this year.  Marketers said that increased product offers and sales in the Hongdae area indicate a solid growth potential for apple cider in Korea for years to come.  Marketers pointed out that young MZ generation consumers are leading the consumption growth for apple cider as they find apple cider fits their taste for light, refreshing alcoholic beverages.  Due to limited general consumer demand and understanding, only a limited number of apple cider products are marketed in Korea currently, most of them imported.  Sommersby, an Australian brand imported by Hite-Jinro, is the leading apple cider brand in the market. 


Super Premium Gift Sets for Chuseok Thanksgiving Day Draw Consumer Attention … 200 Million Won for a Bottle of Cognac

Summary: Retailers are expecting stronger sales from gift sets for the upcoming Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) season this year as many consumers will likely opt for sending gifts to their family members and friends instead of making in-person visits.  Retailers are making an extra effort to offer premium gifts, capitalizing on this opportunity to maximize gift set sales.  A notable example is Mathusalem Louis XIII Cognac that Signi L Hotel Busan offers for 200 million won ($173,000 USD) a bottle (6 litter).  According to Signi L Hotel Busan, it is the most expensive Chuseok gift it ever offered.  Premium fresh tuna meat gift set by Dongwon Industry is another example.  The set contains 2 kilograms of the highest quality tuna meat (for sashimi recipes) for 1 million won ($870 USD).



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