Market Information   >   Food News Clipping

Food News Clipping

April 10 - 20, 2023


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Friday,  April 21,  2023

For Coverage:  April 10 ~ 20, 2023

Edible Oil, Mayo, Flour etc. Prices Hiked More Than 20% Summary: Crucial daily necessities price increased this years quarter compared to last years same period.  Especially oil, mayo, flour and sesame seed oil price increased more than 20% compared to the same period last year.

Chicken Consumers Get Ruffled Feathers Over Price Hike of Refrigerated Poultry Summary: A BBQ fried chicken operator is facing strong backlash from consumers for charging extra for chicken cooked with refrigerated, not frozen, poultry.  The chicken franchise explains that processing refrigerated poultry costs more than conventional frozen poultry, but many consumers, already frustrated by rising prices, see the move as a sneaky trick to raise prices.  Genesis BBQ introduced the fried chicken made with refrigerated poultry in March at a price 3,000 won ($2.3) higher than that made with frozen poultry.  Consumers criticize that the extra fee is too much considering the recent rise of chicken prices amid high inflation.  Another chicken brand, Kyochon, upped all its chicken item prices on the menu by 3,000 won earlier this month.  The price hike came in a year and five months after its last increase, when the franchise partially upped its prices by 2,000 won. Number of Broiler Chicken, Duck Down in Q1 Following Avian Influenza Summary: The number of broiler chickens and ducks raised in South Korea fell in the first quarter of 2023 from a year earlier, data showed Thursday, following the outbreak of avian influenza.  South Korean farms raised 88.85 million broilers in the January-March period, down 1.3 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.  The number of ducks raised also plunged 15.5 percent to 4.82 million, the data showed.  The agency said the decrease is blamed on the aftermath of avian influenza in the country.  South Korea reported its first case of the highly pathogenic avian influenza for the first time in about six months in October.  Since then, cases have been reported throughout the nation. The number of beef cattle, meanwhile, edged up 0.9 percent on-year to reach 3.59 million in the first quarter. The number of those aged one year or younger, however, fell due to falling prices.  The number of pigs fell 0.5 percent on-year to 11.1 million in the first quarter, the data added. Korean Retailers Exercise Eco-friendliness Ahead of Earth Day Summary: With Earth Day coming up this Saturday, Korean retailers are stepping up their sustainability efforts by incorporating green technology in their packaging and product development.  Lotte Mart currently offers two of its tomato products, Sweetell Tomato and Sweettango Tomato, in containers made of recycled plastic.  This makes Lotte Mart the first discount chain store in Korea to introduce such a sustainable packaging for foods.  Shinsegae Department Store introduced shopping bags and packaging made from recycled paper from April.  As part of this initiative, the department stores headquarters and 13 of its branches collect approximately 6,000 tons of paper and cardboard waste, which are then recycled into shopping bags and packaging.  Experts say that it is important that companies prioritize eco-friendly practices as they not only contribute to a more sustainable future, but it also gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace as consumer awareness continues to grow. Genesis BBQ Opens New Restaurant in California Summary: South Korean fried chicken franchise Genesis BBQ said Wednesday it recently opened a new restaurant in California in an effort to further penetrate the American market.  Labeled under the franchises brand name bb.q Chicken, it is its 35th outlet in California. The restaurant is located in a bustling business center called Callens Corner in the Orange County city of Fountain Valley.  With schools, hospitals, churches and other public facilities in the area, Callens Corner is a concentrated spot ideally situated for attracting many customers, the franchise said.  Last year, in a survey by Nations Restaurant News, an American publication covering the food service industry, bb.q Chicken was named the second-fastest growing restaurant chain in the United States. Korea to Step Up Inspections of Seafood Imports Ahead of Fukushima Water Release Summary: The government will conduct special inspections of the country of origin of imported seafood products for two months amid mounting public concerns over the discharge of radioactive wastewater from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, according to the fisheries ministry on Wednesday.  The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will conduct an inspection from May 1 to June 30 with the Korea Coast Guard to make sure merchants are properly labelling the origin of the imported seafood products.  The ministry said the inspection will be a joint effort by the public agencies and the private sector, as inspectors from civic groups such as the National Council of Consumer Education and the Korean Woman's Federation for Consumer will also join.  To actively respond to increasingly sophisticated illegal activities, such as the establishment and operation of bogus wholesale and retail companies, the fishery ministry and the Coast Guard plan to conduct investigations focusing on major imported seafood products.  If the country of origin is falsely labeled, those responsible will face up to seven years behind bars or a fine of up to 100 million won ($75,392) and if the country of origin is not labeled, a fine of more than 50,000 won to 10 million won will be imposed, the ministry said. Number of Farmers, Fishermen Down in S. Korea amid Aging Population Summary: The number of South Koreans in the agrofisheries sector fell in 2022 from a year earlier, data showed Wednesday, reflecting the rapidly aging population.  The number of households in the farming business totaled 1.02 million in 2022, down 0.8 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.  The number of farmers dropped 2.3 percent on-year to 2.16 million.  In the fishing sector, the number of families fell 1.8 percent on-year to 42,500 last year, with the population decreasing 3.2 percent to 90,800 over the period.  People aged 65 and above accounted for 49.8 percent of the population in the farming business, up 3 percentage points from a year earlier.  They took up 44.2 percent of the people involved in the fishing sector, rising 3.7 percentage points over the period.  Over the past decades, an increasing number of younger South Koreans living in rural areas have migrated to cities in pursuit of higher-paying jobs, and this trend has accelerated in recent years due to the aging population. Soju's Main Ingredient Posts Biggest Price Jump in 20 Years Summary: The price of spirits used to make soju products went up Tuesday, marking the biggest jump in the last 20 years.  The price hike comes for a second consecutive year, increasing burdens on local soju makers.  Korea Ethanol Supplies Co. said Tuesday it has raised the price by 9.8 percent.  The price hike will apply to all soju makers as the company is the country's sole distributor of the spirit.  The latest 9.8 percent increase follows an 8 percent raise last year, and it is the highest increase since 2002, when the company shot up the spirit price by 17.64 percent. Frozen over Fresh is the New Trend in Korean Consumerism Summary: Packaged side dishes and frozen foods are gaining popularity as the cost of dining out and the appetite for quick eats grow.  Even common fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits have become trendy in the subzero status.  The rising consumer price of vegetables is turning consumers toward frozen food products.  The revenue for frozen vegetables last month rose 22.4 percent since April last year, outpacing the revenue growth for vegetables in general, at 2.4 percent, by nearly tenfold, Emart announced Sunday.  Frozen vegetables are economical because they have long storage lives and can be frozen, said a spokesperson for Emart, who added that the rise of single-person households that pursue convenience is also a factor in the emerging frozen food market. Apple Pay may be Available at Starbucks by May Summary: Starbucks customers in Korea will be able to use Apple Pay, a contactless mobile payment service provided by global tech titan Apple, as soon as May, according to market watchers, Sunday.  Behind the belated follow-up is Shinsegae, the operator of Starbucks Korea and other retailers, shopping malls and consumer businesses, including E-mart, Shinsegae Department Store and Starfield.  The Shinsegae-mediated SSG Pay, according to the local conglomerate, will not benefit from the coffee chain not providing Apple Pay service.  Instead, the longer the delay, the more frustrated consumers will become a development the coffee chain would not want for their loyal customers. Paris Baguette Signs Deal to Offer Job Opportunities in New York City Summary: Paris Baguette signed an agreement with New York City and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), Wednesday (local time), to stimulate economic growth through internships for New Yorkers and support minority- and women-owned business enterprises, the bakery chain operator SPC said Friday.  Central to the initiative is an immersive, six-week internship training program at Paris Baguette, where interns will receive hands-on training and classroom instruction on food preparation in either baking or cake decoration.  The internship will conclude with consideration for job placements and opportunities for continued career development.  The partnership will also support the growth of firms from the city's diverse pool of minority- and women-owned business enterprises by introducing them to AMCHAM and providing opportunities to do business with international firms.  Paris Baguette has committed to donating food for economically disadvantaged communities, to be distributed across the entire city. CJ Foodville Shifts to Black in Indonesia, Vietnam Summary: CJ Foodville, the food service subsidiary of CJ Group, has started generating profits in Indonesia and Vietnam amid growing consumer demand for Korean-style bakery products there, company officials said Wednesday.  The company has successfully positioned its bakery chain Tous Les Jours as a premium shop in both countries by offering products baked daily at the stores.  Most bakery chains in Indonesia and Vietnam only sell mass-produced bread or buns.  It also made its baked goods more visually appealing and expanded its online-to-offline (O2O) link service to target the countries, which both have large populations of young people.  CJ Foodville has created a new type of business called a cafe-type bakery in Vietnam and attracted a great response from local customers.  It is also offering a free valet parking service for bicycles and motorcycles, which are a major form of transportation in the country, and a membership rewards program. Czech Beer Brand Kozel White Gets Global Launch in Seoul Summary: Czech beer brand Kozel, owned by Japan's Asahi, launched its new lager Kozel White in Korea for the first time in the world to test its product before taking it to other global markets, the company said Thursday.  Another reason for Kozel to launch its new product in Seoul first, is that Korea is the fifth largest market by sales in the world.  When counting countries that do not own production facilities and only sell imported Kozel beer, Korea is the biggest market in the world.  AEBK, which sells products of other imported beer brands such as Pilsner Urquell and Peroni, showed 26.4 billion won ($20.17 million) in sales last year, up by 38.6 percent from 2021's 19 billion won.  Kamil Ruzek, senior brewmaster of Asahi Europe & International, also presented at the launch event to provide background information on the development of Kozel White. Sempio Spicing Up Global Dishes with K-sauces Summary: Headed by sales of its bestselling gochujang (hot pepper paste) products and Sempio's modified version of soy sauce, Yondu, overseas sales make up 11.5 percent of the total as of 2022.  In addition to large markets such as the United States and Europe, the company aggressively targeted markets where its products could stand out against relatively lower levels of competition, such as Russia or the Middle East. Convenience Stores See Sales of Ready Meals Surge] Summary: Convenience stores have become a popular meal spot among Koreans amid the so-called lunchflation days.  People spent nearly 2 trillion won ($1.51 billion) buying ready meals from convenience stores last year and are expected to spend 2.23 trillion won this year, trailing closely behind the 2.65-trillion-won ramyeon market.  Revenue for the ready meal market from convenience stores totaled 1.93 trillion won to record an all-time high last year, according to market researcher Euromonitor on Wednesday. OB Boosts Presence in Craft Beer Market Summary: Oriental Brewery (OB) has been boosting its presence in the craft beer market going after an increasing number of young consumers who prefer alternatives to generic mass-produced beer, according to industry officials, Tuesday.  OB is the country's largest brewery with its best-selling beer brand Cass dominating the household market with 42 percent of the market share.  However, as the demand for craft beer has been increasing, the brewer saw the need to introduce differentiated products from already-established mass-produced ones.  On Monday, the company introduced its second craft beer product Honey 054, following its successful launch of Ginger 063 in March.  Ginger 063 was sold out only a month after its release thanks to an explosive response from consumers.  AB Inbev, the mother company of OB, has been expanding its business in the local craft beer market for quite a long time.  In 2011, the company acquired American craft beer firm Goose Island and opened its specialty store in Gangnam, Seoul, in 2016.  It also has a craft beer subsidiary called ZX Ventures that produces local products.  In March 2018, OB bought a 100 percent stake in Hand & Malt Brewing Company to strengthen its craft beer business.  OB does not produce its own craft beer using other the brewery's recipes or through an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contract. New Council Aims to Boost Korean Liquor Exports Summary: The National Tax Service announced Tuesday that it has launched the K-Liquor Promotion Council to boost exports of alcoholic beverages produced by small and mid-sized firms.  According to the NTS data, imports of alcoholic beverages have increased to some 1.7 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in 2022, up from 1 trillion won in 2019.  However, exports of local liquor products decreased to 398 billion won in 2022 from 404 billion won in 2019.  Moreover, the NTS noted that exports from small and mid-sized liquor firms only accounted for a small proportion, while top 10 companies accounted for more than 80 percent of the total exports of liquor products in 2022.  The newly launched council will work as a platform that will provide local liquor firms with resources they can use when entering the foreign markets, the NTS said.  The council will operate channels in which small and mid-sized liquor firms can consult with larger ones that have accumulated know-how on entering overseas markets in the past years. CJ Wellcare to Target U.S. with Amazon Entry Summary: CJ Wellcare Corp. said Tuesday it will begin selling its products on Amazon this week in a bid to expand its health supplement business in the United States.  The health functional food making affiliate of CJ Group said its 10 products will be made available on the U.S. e-commerce site starting Tuesday. Reducing Big Retailers' Operating Hours Fails to Help Traditional Markets Summary: The government regulations limiting operating hours of large retailers do not help merchants at traditional markets and only benefit their e-commerce peers, according to an expert survey, Monday.  Over seven in 10 surveyed experts said the poorly planned measure ended up hurting the growth of not only large retailers but also traditional markets, and that online entities and convenience stores have benefited unexpectedly.  Under the related law established to foster equal, balanced growth of retail industry players, large retail stores must remain closed every other Sunday in most parts of the country.  Their around-the-clock operating hours were also curtailed to 10 a.m. to midnight.  The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey of 108 members of four retail logistics academic associations showed 70.4 percent of the respondents said that they thought the decade-long measure failed to protect both large retailers and traditional market players. Exports of Instant Noodles Hit First-quarter High Summary: Korea's exports of instant noodles jumped 14.3 percent on-year in the first three months of 2023 to reach the highest figure for any first quarter ever amid the growing popularity of the Korean culture, data showed Sunday.  The country exported $208 million worth of instant noodles, or "ramyeon" in Korean, in the January-March period, up from $181.93 million a year earlier, according to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. Maeil Dairies Co. Supplies Almond Breeze to Starbucks China Summary: Maeil Dairies Co. made a contract regarding Almond Breeze supply to Starbucks China.  Maeil Dairies Co. made a partnership with global almond related product company Blue Diamond and are producing 100% almond milk in Gwangju factory in Korea.  This is the first time for Maeil Dairies Co. to make a contract with foreign company for Almond Breeze supply.


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