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Food News Clipping

January 27 - February 1, 2024


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Tuesday, February 6,  2024

For Coverage:  January  27 ~  February 1, 2024

Global Grain Prices Appear to Be Stabilizing… Domestic Compound Feed Prices are Expected to Fall by Up to 10%
Summary:  According to a report on the global grain market and domestic and foreign feed industries, which is jointly published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Institute for Animal Products Quality Evaluation, domestic compound feed prices are expected to fall by 8-10% as global grain prices have been stabilizing on a downward trend for more than a year.  The report say that rainfall will increase in the major grain producing region in the U.S. due to a recent unusual weather condition El Niño, resulting in stability in grain prices as its production rises.  In addition, the overall production of corn and wheat is also expected to increase in the global agricultural supply and demand forecast.

The Cost for Memorial Service Table on Lunar New Year’s Day… 310 Thousand Korean Won
Summary:  Many Koreans begin Lunar New Year’s Day with a traditional memorial service at home for their ancestors early in the morning.  According to a recent survey by Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation (aT), the average cost for setting up a memorial service table this year is 313,499 KRW ($236.2 USD), which is similar to 313,004 KRW from last year.  By market type, it costs 280 thousand KRW ($211 USD) if food ingredients are bought at traditional markets, 19.4% cheaper than 347 thousand KRW ($261 USD) at hypermarkets.

(Photo: Memorial service table for ancestors on Lunar New Year’s Day in Korea)

Imports of Whiskey Reached a Record High While Imports of Wines Plummeted
Summary:  Korea’s imports of whiskey in 2023 exceeded 30,000 tons, a record high, while imports of wine went down by over 20 percent continuing a decline trend for two consecutive years.  The fast-growing popularity of the ‘highball’ drink has contributed to the surge of whiskey imports, and more mid- and low-priced whiskeys are being introduced to the market compared to the past.  On a volume basis, imports of whiskey increased to 30,586 tons, a 13.1 percent year-on-year increase, but by value, the figure slightly decreased to 259.57 million USD, 2.7 percent below the previous year.  On the other hand, imports of wine decreased to 56,542 tons, a 20.4 percent year-on-year decrease, the biggest drop in its history.  Demand for wine grew significantly during the pandemic as home-drinking became a trend, but this has subsided as people have been again able to enjoy outside activities.

MAFRA Minister Song, Mi Ryeong… “We Will Actively Support the Floury Rice Industry”
Summary:  Korean Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) Song, Mi Ryeong visited Harim Foods on January 30th to look around its production facilities of floury rice products and show the government’s willingness to promote the floury rice industry.  Minister Song said on the spot that floury rice is a new food material that can be substituted for imported wheat and is a key policy that can strengthen food security and resolve the structural imbalance in rice supply and demand.  Harim Foods released two kinds of floury rice ramen through the government’s support program for floury rice product development last year and, additionally, plans to launch a new product with increased floury rice content this year.  The minister also said, “the government will actively support the expansion of the floury rice industry, which is good for health and the environment and is helpful to farmers by stabilizing the rice supply and demand.”

Korea’s Exports of Processed Rice Foods in 2023 Such As Precooked Dried Rice Recorded an All-Time High
Summary:  Korea’s exports of processed rice foods last year, such as precooked dried rice, frozen Gimbap, stir-fried rice cake (Tteokbokki) hit an all-time high.  According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation (aT), exports of processed rice foods in 2023 reached $217.2 million USD (290 billion KRW) for the first time, a 19.5% increase compared to the previous year.

19 Thousand Cartons of U.S. Eggs Sold Out at Homeplus
Summary:  All nineteen thousand cartons of U.S. eggs, which are sold by Homeplus at 4,990 Korean Won ($3.8 USD) per carton of 30 eggs, have been sold out.  Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs imported 1.12 million U.S. eggs on a trial basis as egg prices went up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.  Among these quantities, Homeplus secured and sold 19 thousand cartons.  A carton of the U.S. eggs sold by Homeplus is composed of 30 white eggs with a total weight of 1.68kg and is about 30% cheaper than Korean eggs.  In 2021, Homeplus recorded the largest sales of 360 thousand cartons of U.S. eggs at 3,980 Korean Won ($3 USD) per carton.  A Homeplus official said that they will continue to contribute to price stability by introducing various and high quality eggs at reasonable prices in order to expand customer choice.

Rice Consumption in the Food Industry Last Year Accounted for 817 Thousand Metric Tons, an 18% Increase Compared to the Previous Year
Summary:  According to a survey on grain consumption in 2023 that Statistics Korea recently released, rice consumption in the food industry in 2023 increased by 18.2% to 817 thousand metric tons compared to the previous year.  The annual household rice consumption per capita last year decreased by 0.6% to 56.4 kilograms from the previous year.  By industry, rice consumption for rice cake accounted for 214 thousand tons (15.6%+), followed by alcohol production (197 thousand tons, 61.5%+) and prepared foods (130 thousand tons, 10%-).  In terms of annual rice consumption per capita, the figures decreased to 56.4 kg due to changes in eating habits but the decrease rate in consumption over the past three years was only 0.9% as social activities increased as a result of the gradual recovery of daily life after COVID-19. 


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