Market Information   >   Food News Clipping

Food News Clipping

March 15 - April 4, 2024


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Friday, April 5,  2024

For Coverage:  March 15 ~  April 4, 2024


Dumplings at USFK Bases [KoreaTimes, 4-1-2024, English, SGH]
Summary:  CJ CheilJedang has introduced new vegan dumpling products in the United States military bases in Korea, where dumplings containing Korean meat are prohibited.  This marks a strategic move by the major food company, offering original, japchae, and kimchi flavors under its Bibigo brand.  Despite the difficulties of entering the United States Forces Korea (USFK), CJ continues to hold tasting events at the bases and products are being stocked in commissaries as CJ aims to cater to American soldiers stationed in Korea while expanding to Guam and Japan.  The vegan dumplings, containing textured vegetable protein (TVP) and TasteNrich – a key aromatic pea ingredient that adds a meaty texture and taste –, have earned Europe’s vegan certification (V-Label), reflecting CJ's commitment to international consumer trust and its growing success in the vegan food market, with sales doubling last year.

The Rise in Single-Person Households

Summary:  The number of single-person households in Korea is on the verge of surpassing 10 million, representing approximately 41 percent of all households.  With single-person households becoming increasingly prevalent, Homeplus's Instant Delivery service has experienced a surge in online sales, particularly among customers in their 20s, 30s, and 60s.  This service, available within a 2 to 2.5-kilometer radius of Homeplus Express stores, offers quick delivery, contributing to a significant increase in sales of small-sized products, notably meat, kimchi, seafood, vegetables, meal kits, and dried foods.  Homeplus has strategically renovated both its stores and its application based on the needs of single-person households, offering a wide range of Grab&Go products, small-quantity food items, and convenient user features such as personalized recommendations and discount notifications.


The Growth in Smart Agriculture

Summary:  The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has developed a smart agricultural industry development plan that focuses on smart farm equipment, data-driven solutions, and vertical farm industry revitalization to address challenges such as climate change, declining farm population, and aging demographics.  By promoting collaboration between ministries and industries, the government aims to enhance technological capabilities and global competitiveness in the smart agriculture sector.  These initiatives include easing regulations for vertical farms, fostering expertise in smart agriculture, expanding VAT refunds for farming equipment, and establishing a Smart Agriculture Manager system.  Additionally, Minister Song Mi-ryung has emphasized its efforts to strengthen international cooperation, trade support, and market expansion aimed to increase the adoption of smart agriculture and boost industry sales and exports by 2027.


Italy’s First Paris Baguette

Summary:  Paris Baguette, a Korean bakery chain, in collaboration with an Italian coffee franchise - Pascucci, will be entering the Italian market after a year of negotiations.  Italy will be the third European country that SPC's Paris Baguette will set foot in and plans on introducing a variety of bakery products that have unique Korean twists such as danpatbbang (buns filled with red bean paste).  Paris Baguette expects that this partnership will help them move forward in launching their brand in several other European country’s markets as Italy is a major player in the bakery industry as well as a diverse bread culture.

More Bananas and Oranges for Everyone

Summary:  As the prices of fruit are on a continuous upward trend, the government has added 150 billion won (~$112 million) to the emergency price stabilization fund to stabilize its prices.  To do this, nationwide discounts, gift certificates and vouchers have been distributed, along with an increase in direct import of agricultural products, mainly bananas and oranges, to alleviate the burdens associated with purchasing them.  Additionally, it is expected that more agricultural products will be added to the list of products exempt from import tariffs.  Currently on the list are 29 types of fruits including oranges, bananas, pineapples and mangoes.  However, apples and pears remain unimported due to the potential loss in sales for domestic farmers and the need to establish a fresh customs procedure despite this year’s supply decline of apples (-30.3%).


Sales of Hite Jinro’s Terra Exceed 4.54 Billion Bottles in 5 Years Since Its Launch

Summary:  The cumulative sales of HiteJinro's beer 'Terra' have exceeded 4.54 billion bottles, averaging about 28.8 bottles sold every second.  Since its launch five years ago, Terra has set a record for the fastest sales rate with an average annual growth rate of 17 percent.  With its huge success, HiteJinro targeted home channels with a variety of limited-edition products as well as in-person marketing activities at general restaurants and bars.  HiteJinro now plans to focus on university towns with its new products such as 'Terra Colored Glasses' and collaborate with fashion brands that are commonly purchased by university students in hopes of becoming the No. 1 beer in Korea by the end of 2024.


A New Sense of Familiarity

Summary:  The leading company of the convenience store industry - CU- and CJ CheilJedang has collaborated and entered the convenience store bread market in response to the ‘lunchflation’.  They have released four new bread products that are reinterpretations of CJ CheilJedang's most represented brands: bibigo (dumplings), hetbahn (rice), baeksul (marinade) and matbalm (chestnuts).  Korean consumers have shown an increasing demand for affordable meals and bread has especially been attracting much attention with its high purchase rate with other products at convenience stores.  CU and CJ CheilJedang are utilizing this to their advantage by providing consumers with familiar brands in the form of bread to provide customers with a new yet inviting experience.

No More Delivery Fees!


Free Deliveries for Everyone!

Summary:  Starting March 26th, Coupang Eats – an online food ordering and delivery platform – has provided Coupang WOW members food deliveries with no delivery fees, regardless of minimum order amounts, delivery distances, ordered frequencies or even applied discount coupons.  Previously, Coupang Eats offered a 10 percent discount for each delivery order but has changed its strategy to "free delivery" as the consumption of food delivery apps has declined due to rising food costs and delivery fees.  The free delivery policy will only apply to consumer-paid delivery fees thus, no financial burden will fall on the restaurant owners.  Coupang is offering Rocket Delivery (e-commerce), Rocket Fresh (fresh food delivery), Coupang Play (OTT) and Coupang Eats, all for a monthly fee of 4,990 won.  With this new initiative, Coupang has risen the ranks to claim second place in the online food ordering and delivery industry.  In response to this, Baedal Minjok, the greatest market share holder in this industry, has added free delivery to its "Alddeul Baedal" service where multiple orders within the vicinity of each other are picked up and delivered simultaneously.  They are becoming more wary of Coupang's rapid growth as its user count surpassed several other food delivery service platforms for the fifth consecutive week and is only expected to grow even further.


The Coupang and Shinsegae Alliance

Summary:  The Chinese e-commerce company, AliExpress, has submitted its three-year investment plan worth $1.1 billion in establishing logistics facilities within South Korea.  As AliExpress previously had no logistics centers, it struggled to compete against local companies such as Coupang.  However, with this expansion into the logistics sector, Alibaba plans to delve into several other business areas such as the fresh food delivery sector.  In response to this, Coupang and Shinsegae have expanded their logistics division and updated their equipment to process more daily orders.  Furthermore, the government is considering implementing more regulatory guidelines that Chinese companies would have to abide by to prevent the monopolization of the e-commerce industry.

“Smart” and Delicious Eggs

Summary:  GanongBio is running a smart farm for chicken eggs that utilizes a big-data automation system that reduces human and labor errors while producing one of the best-tasting eggs in the world.  This smart farm technology measures the best levels of temperature, humidity, light and quality of air for the chickens and is consistently maintained.  The smart farms operate on a complete "zero" production chain where there are zero infection risks, zero diseases, zero human contact, zero errors and even zero days of shipment delay.  Every automation process within the houses that hold the chickens is carefully maintained through big data where the system regularly checks the relationship between the chickens' living conditions and productivity.  Yoo Jai-gug, the head of GanongBio, hopes to spread his farm's technological advancements to create more smart farms that produce the best quality of agricultural products with the system's efficiency-oriented operations.


Battery-operated Farms

Summary:  According to Jeju-do Agricultural Research and Extension Services, several farms are repurposing the used batteries from electric vehicles as alternative power sources to supply emergency power when certain weather conditions disrupt the power services.  These batteries provide power to run the ventilators at greenhouses and maintain a stable temperature while locking the entrances.  The previous diesel-based emergency power generators required a significant amount of fuel, were notoriously loud and could only be manually turned on and off.  The Rural Development Agency plans on continuously monitoring the battery-operated farms and proposing the arrangement of an EV battery fund for local farmers to the Ministry.

Nongshim’s Popularity in the Foreign Market

Summary:  Several South Korean ramyun brands have gained significant popularity within foreign markets, especially Nongshim.  Nongshim is South Korea's top ramyun maker known for products such as Shin Ramen and Chapagetti (black bean noodles).  As global inflation and the “K-Food Hype” continue to increase, foreign consumers have been drawn to the affordable, yet tasty Korean ramyun.  Their operating profits have increased by 125 percent on-year in 2023, over 50 percent of its total operating profit and is expected to grow further.  In particular, sales in the United States and China have improved and Nongshim plans on adding more production lines and localized products to expand their sales in areas such as Texas and Mexico.


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