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Food News Clipping

March 28 - April 8, 2022


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday,  April 8,  2022

For Coverage: March   28 ~  April 8, 2022

Fresh Easy Sales Jumped During the Last Three Years
Summary:  Fresh Easy reported  that it recorded 188.9 billion won in sales last year, up 48.6% from the previous year along with the rapid growth of the convenience food market.  The market for meal kits is forecast to reach 1.17 trillion won by 2026.  Fresh Easy sales increased by an average growth rate of 63% for the last three years, and cumulative sales exceeded 25 million units in volume.  Fresh Easy launched a collaborative project last year and introduced 261 types of meal kits partnering with social media influencers, food service companies, and small business owners.  Sales of these products accounted for about 30% of total meal kit sales last year.  The CEO of Fresh Easy said that it has successfully established a project that helps people enter the convenience food market.  Fresh Easy will expand its overseas market starting this year.

Imported Grain Price Soars
Summary:  The import price rise will continue for the second quarter of this year.  As the price of imported grains has continued to rise for the past six consecutive quarters, the prices of domestic food and feed made using grains are also expected to rise.  This will increase the price burden on businesses and consumers.  According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, the grain import price index for the second quarter of this year is expected to increase by 10.4% for food (158.5) and 13.6% for feed (163.1).  Industry officials explain that the grain import price index was affected by the rise in international grain prices amid the Ukraine conflict, the won/dollar exchange rate, and sea freight costs.

Imported Fruits Sales Surpass Traditional Fruits Sales
Summary:  GS Fresh Mall, a supermarket operated by GS Retail, reported that the sales of new variety of fruits such as Kingsberry, Shine Muscat and other imported fruits surpassed that of traditional fruits, accounting for 60.4% of total fruit sales.  As more people spend most of their day at home, people are looking for unique fruits other than traditional fruits such as apples, watermelons, and pears.  Shine Muscat, a new variety of grapes known for its unique texture and mango-scented taste, accounted for 71% of total grape sales this year.  Kingsberry, which is three times larger than regular strawberries, accounted for 37% of total strawberry sales.

Lotte Chilsung Launches Soju with the Flavor of Honey and Beer
Summary:  Lotte Chilsung Beverage, a major maker of soju and beer, announced that it will introduce a new version of soju that has the taste of beer and honey.  This idea was derived from the younger generation that enjoys mixing soju and beer.  With an alcohol content of 15%, beer and honey are added to soju.  Lotte Chilsung Beverage officials expect that customers that don’t prefer the unique taste of soju can also enjoy this new product.

Food and Beverage Industry Sales Increased 6.8% Last Year
Summary:  Thirty seven companies in the food and beverage industry listed on the KOSPI recorded sales of 39.17 trillion won last year, up 6.8 percent from the previous year.  Meanwhile operating profits (down 1.2% to 1.73 trillion won) and net profits (down 0.4% to 1.23 trillion won) both decreased.  The number of food and beverage companies with sales of more than 1 trillion won increased by two from the previous year to 15 companies.  CJ Cheil Jedang recorded 6.8 trillion won last year, the highest sales among all food and beverage companies, followed by Daesang (2.9 trillion won) and Ottogi (2.4 trillion won).  CJ Cheil Jedang also achieved the highest operating profits (305.4 billion won) and net profits (304 billion won).

Korean Consumers are Driving Product Innovation
Summary:  Recently Korean consumers are inventing their own innovative ways to enjoy food.  As consumers’ desire to make novel recipes utilizing existing menus has expanded, the food industry is offering variations to their existing menus.  Puradak, a chicken franchise, has transformed their signature menus into a new look.  Puradak recently launched pizzas using its most popular chicken menu items, such as Red Pepper Mayonnaise Chicken, Black Alio Chicken, and Pabulo Chicken.  A Puradak Official said they are constantly monitoring how their chicken menus are consumed by customers through various channels.  Goobne Chicken is also planning to launch a new menu this month, adding crispness to its most popular ‘Goobne Red Pepper Crisp’ by using rice flour and brown rice flour.  Also, Goobne will introduce curry sauces that can be paired with fried chicken and can be used in various new recipes.

Consumer Price of Processed Food Increased 6.4% in March This Year
Summary:  Consumer price inflation in March this year soared to over 4% for the first time in about 10 years.  International oil price increases and raw material price increases due to the Ukraine crisis have accelerated consumer price inflation.  According to Korea Statistics, the consumer price index was 106.06 in March, up 4.1% from the same period last year.  Meanwhile, the prices of agricultural and fishery products (up 0.4%), imported beef (27.7%), pork (9.4%) and processed food such as bread (6.4%) have increased.

Paradise Hotel Jumps into the Home Meal Replacement (HMR) Market
Summary:  Paradise Hotel & Resorts is entering the premium Home Meal Replacement (HMR) market.  Customers can easily enjoy restaurant menus made by famous chefs from Paradise Hotel at home.  HMR products of Paradise Hotel are being sold at the Hyundai Department Store online grocery shopping mall.  Paradise City 'La Scala' launched two types of pasta (Bolognese pasta and Truffle Tajarin pasta) and 3 types of pizzas.  The head chef Chekato, an Italian chef, was directly involved in the product development process.  The two pasta HMR products have a harmonious taste with a sauce that maximizes the taste of soft, chewy noodles.  The pizza dough is made using domestic ingredients and aged for 48 hours.  So customers can enjoy the authentic taste of Italian pizza.

Food Products High in Dietary Fiber are Becoming Popular in the Food Industry
Summary:  An increasing number of people are experiencing problems such as indigestion and constipation as outdoor activities have decreased sharply during the prolonged pandemic.  This is mainly due to the shift from offline to online in schools and workplaces.  Accordingly, the food and beverage industry is paying attention to convenient snacks containing high dietary fiber.  Various new convenience food products are launched to target consumers who find it difficult to save time to eat.  Lotte Chilsung Beverage launched Chilsung Cider Plus, a health functional food containing digestible maltodextrin dietary fiber.  Ottogi launched Jin Bibimmyeon, a spicy noodle, made using chewy noodles with high protein and dietary fiber content.

Vegetarian Convenience Food Sales Surpassed Five Million Units at CU Convenience Stores
Summary:  CU, a convenience store chain, reported that their vegetarian convenience food business exceeded 5 million units in sales in the three years after its launch.  In 2019, CU launched a wide variety of vegetarian convenience food products such as sandwich, kimbap, burgers and pasta, the first in the industry.  The best-selling product was the recently launched vegetarian tuna kimbap, which used 100% plant-based ingredients.  CU has continued to strengthen the product quality and increase customer trust in vegetarian products by conducting strict verification of raw materials.

Imported Spirits Sales Surpass Soju Sales at Hypermarkets
Summary:  The sales of imported spirits is forecast to surpass that of soju (Korean traditional liquor) in the first quarter of 2022 for the first time.  This change is mainly due to the newly spreading home-drinking trend and the preference for high quality liquor over soju.  E-mart reported that as of March 23 this year, imported spirits (including whiskey, vodka, gin, rum and tequila) accounted for 16.3% of total liquor sales, taking up a higher portion than soju (15.8%).  In 2019, imported spirits sales accounted for 8.1% of total liquor sales in E-mart, while soju sales accounted for 18.6%.  After the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, imported liquor sales began to surge, jumping more than 40% annually.

The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation Launches a Promotion Committee for the Agriculture and Fishery Sector
Summary:  The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation will reportedly operate a “Vision 2027 Promotion Committee” ahead of the launch of the new government.  The promotion committee will prepare a five-year roadmap for how Yoon’s administration will manage state affairs and policies in the agriculture and fishery food sector.  The major tasks are improving food self-sufficiency, expanding online trade of agricultural and livestock products, and supporting the institutional food service sector. 

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Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Embassy - Seoul
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