Market Information   >   Food News Clipping

Food News Clipping

March 26 - 31, 2023


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Friday,  March 31,  2023

For Coverage:  March 26~ 30, 2023

South Korea’s Exports of Instant Noodle Exceed $800 Million Mark in 2022
Summary: South Korea's exports of instant noodles exceeded $800 million in 2022, setting an all-time record.  Export data released on Thursday by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said overseas shipments of instant noodles last year such as ramen, fresh noodles, udon, domestic-type noodles and japchae, or glass noodles with vegetables and meat, rose 12% from 2021 to $862 million.  This was yet another historic performance by instant noodles, whose exports have set record highs every year since 2014.  From January and February this year, they increased 19% from 2021 to $147 million, another all-time mark for the period.  In weight, such exports broke another national mark with 260,000 tons, up 10.3% and second only to China worldwide with 460,000 tons.  The KCS said that because demand for simple foods grew amid more time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, ramen grew popular as a leading Korean food thanks to the global Hallyu boom fueled by Korean movies and dramas.  By noodle type, ramen saw sales hit a record $765 million, up 13.5% from 2021, and set another all-time mark with $132 million in January and February this year.  By market, China was the biggest buyer with $191 million, followed by the US with $120 million and Japan $68 million.  Instant noodle exports last year also went to 143 countries, the most in the country's history.

Binggrae’s Banana Milk Gets Dairy-free Makeover
Summary: Binggrae released a dairy-free version of its iconic banana flavored milk.  The milk uses almond and soy for vegan consumers and those who cannot consume dairy products.  The product was certified by Korea Agency of Vegan Certification and Services.  The company released the new product in line with potential growth in the vegan milk market.  The vegan milk market grew from 8.3 billion won ($6.4 million) in 2016 to 43.1 billion won ($33.3 million) in 2020, according to data from Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.  The market is expected to grow to 66.8 billion won by 2025. 

Recall Ordered for Castella Cakes Containing Prohibited Food Preservative
Summary: The Food Ministry halted sales of a castella product that was found to contain a prohibited food preservative.  Food import company PTJ Korea was ordered to suspend sales and recall its "Mini Castella" products last Friday by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.  Food import company PTJ Korea was ordered to suspend sales and recall its "Mini Castella" products last Friday by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.  A chemical compound benzoic acid — a preservative used in ointments and mouthwash — was detected in the castella cakes.  Though a small amount of this substance is allowed in some food products, it is banned for bread products.  Mini Castella are sold at major retail platforms, including Emart's discount store NoBrand and e-commerce sites Coupang and Auction.

CJ CheilJedang Sees Chicken As Next Big Seller After Frozen Dumpling
Summary: CJ CheilJedang, Korea's largest food company by sales, is considering chicken as its next strategic product to succeed its popular frozen dumplings, which helped its Bibigo brand's global sales surpass 1 trillion won ($768.3 million) in 2022, company officials said Monday.  Bibigo is a CJ's food brand under which the company has been launching a series of products in overseas markets.  About 40 percent of Bibigo's revenue comes from selling frozen dumplings in the United States.  The new chicken products being developed by CJ are expected to be drumsticks and wings, similar to popular fried chicken items seen locally.  The company will maintain the concept of frozen food for its chicken products because of the convenience of storage and shipment for overseas markets.  It will improve the food quality to make it taste similar to food served at a restaurant when cooked in an air fryer at home.



HiteJinro Catching Up with Top-ranked OB in Beer Market
Summary: Oriental Brewery (OB), Korea's leading brewer, faces increasing competition in the local beer market from long-time rival Hitejinro, which has been catching up quickly due to soaring sales of its popular lager beer, Terra, at restaurants, bars and nightclubs, according to industry officials Monday.  HiteJinro lost its No. 1 status in 2012 to OB, owned by the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), and has been unable to reclaim the top spot.  According to HiteJinro, Terra sales increased 11 percent year-on-year in 2022 to more than 1 billion 330-milliliter bottles for the first time.  This is an 86 percent jump in sales volume compared to the first year Terra was introduced.  HiteJinro said sales of the popular lager beer soared last year thanks to the lifting of coronavirus social distancing measures in the country.  Sales of Terra at restaurants and bars increased 33 percent year-on-year and jumped 85 percent at pubs and clubs in 2022.

HiteJinro' Soju Exports Hit Record High of $120 Mil. in 2022
Summary: HiteJinro, Korea's leading beverage company, said Monday its annual exports of soju hit a new record high last year, thanks to the Korean distilled liquor's surging global popularity.  HiteJinro said it posted $120 million in soju exports last year, up 16.4 percent from a year earlier.  It also marked a sharp hike from $44 million in 2016, when the company first set its sights on globalizing soju.  The liquor maker attributed such results to its swift response to market trends, the growing demand for flavored alcohol, and preference for milder alcoholic beverages.  The United States has emerged as a significant market for HiteJinro, with soju shipments to the country skyrocketing by 82.4 percent from the previous year.  Europe and Africa also recorded a combined surge of 39.4 percent in soju shipments from HiteJinro in 2021.  "In the short-term, HiteJinro plans to focus on increasing sales in Southeast Asia and China.  In the long term, we aim to focus on western countries, where sales are rapidly growing," a company official said.
Kyochon Heralds 30,000 Won Fried Chicken Era
Summary: Kyochon F&B decided to raise its fried chicken prices by up to 3,000 won ($2.30) from April 3, despite the government's request for restaurant chains to refrain from hiking prices further, in order to reduce the burden on low-income households.  Due to the decision, consumers will need to pay nearly 30,000 won if they want to get fried chicken delivered from Kyochon.  According to the franchise operator of Kyochon Chicken, the price of Kyochon Original will rise to 19,000 won from 16,000 won, while the price of its signature menu, Honey Combo, will go up to 23,000 won from 20,000 won.  Kyochon explained that it had no choice but to raise its prices in order to cope with the worsening profitability of its franchisees over the past few years.  However, its latest price hike came just a year and five months after its previous price hike in November 2021.  As Kyochon hikes its prices, complaints are growing among consumers about the possibility of other fried chicken franchises following suit.  Despite inflation, food-producing companies have remained cautious about raising their prices, as Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun warned them against more price hikes.  The government's pressure prompted CJ CheilJedang and other food firms to drop their plans to raise the prices of their products.  Liquor producers also decided to freeze the prices of their alcoholic beverages.


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