Market Information   >   Food News Clipping

Food News Clipping

May 17 - 30, 2024


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Friday, May 31,  2024

For Coverage:  May 17 ~ 30, 2024

The Cause for Naver’s Reduction
Summary:  Launched in January 2019, Naver's service allows users to order from traditional markets via Naver Shopping with rapid delivery options.  However, the number of Korean traditional markets partnering with Naver's 'Neighborhood Market Shopping' service has decreased significantly from 170 in 2022 to 71 in 2024, largely due to the emergence of Coupang.  Naver attributed this reduction to enhancing management efficiency through digital transformation.  Industry experts suggest that the waning interest in Naver's service was due to Coupang’s similar venture that has expanded nationwide in addition to Coupang Eats, offering incentives to traditional market stores.  While Naver emphasizes its focus on small and medium-sized businesses, competing platforms show how the market dynamic is currently evolving.


The Effects of Abnormal Weather

Summary:  On May 31, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) is hosting the '2024 Agri-Food Consumption Trend Presentation Contest' to analyze evolving consumer behaviors influenced by recent abnormal weather patterns.  Using data from approximately 17 million household accounts in the Seoul metropolitan area, the contest aims to guide farming decisions and agricultural R&D.  Notably, the data reveals how weather variations impact purchasing trends, particularly among the elderly, with sunny days driving purchases of strawberries, melons, and watermelons, while rainy days see increased demand for pumpkins, leeks, and potatoes.  The consumption trends for 15 key items can also be seen, emphasizing the need for domestic production expansion and improved cultivation techniques.  Additionally, emerging issues like alternative foods and online grocery purchasing trends are addressed, providing valuable insights for agri-food sales strategies and policymaking.

Customers in Korea can Order a Single Glass of Soju
Summary:  Starting from May 29th, customers are allowed to order soju by the glass at restaurants and pubs in Korea.  According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), a revised bill came into effect on May 28th to permit liquor sellers to serve alcoholic drinks such as makgeolli or soju in units smaller than bottles.  Previously, restaurants were restricted from selling most types of alcoholic beverages in individual glasses except for cocktails and beer.  A ministry official said that a growing demand for whiskey, wine or Japanese sake by the glass prompted to make this change to sell liquor in such smaller amounts, which is expected to remove confusion about the disparity between administrative rules and prevalent practices in the liquor market.  Moreover, the amendment facilitates the wholesale distribution of non-alcoholic beverages (less than 1 percent alcohol), which previously needed to be purchased by restaurant and pub owners at supermarkets..

Rise in Retail
Summary:  In April, retail sales in Korea saw an increase of 10.8 percent compared to the previous year, largely fueled by a surge in online shopping demand, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.  The total sales figure, combining both offline and online retailers, amounted to 15.4 trillion won ($11.2 billion), showcasing a significant shift towards digital commerce.  While offline store sales experienced a marginal decrease of 0.2 percent, primarily due to fewer weekend days, convenience stores witnessed a 5.9 percent increase in sales mainly in tobacco products and processed food items.  Department stores and supermarkets, however, faced declines, particularly in luxury items and electronics sales.  This surge in online platform sales (+22.2%) indicates a growing preference for digital shopping experiences, with local retailers making promotional efforts to compete with the expanding influence of international online platforms.

More Opportunities in Saudi Arabia
Summary:  The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, along with the Korea Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Distribution Corporation, participated in Riyadh Food Expo 2024 in Saudi Arabia, securing a $6.5 million K-food export deal.  The expo was a significant event for exploring business opportunities in the Middle East, attracting over 1,000 F&B companies from 97 countries, showcasing Saudi Arabia's status as a major food importer.  Through an 'Integrated Korean Pavilion,' featuring nine top agri-food exporters and dedicated promotion halls, the delegation highlighted export products like health foods, ramen, and sauces.  Special attention was drawn to ginseng and Bioara's 'Cordyceps' product, awarded 'Best Wellness' at the fair.  Pre-expo online consultations and on-site Arabic support facilitated buyer engagement, reflecting efforts to penetrate and establish K-food in the Middle Eastern market.

Agricultural Preparations for the Summer
Summary:  The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is proactively addressing potential disruptions in the supply and demand of agricultural products during the upcoming summer due to weather-related challenges like torrential rains and heat waves.  Measures are being taken to mitigate the potential shortages of high-altitude open-field vegetables such as cabbage and radish.  These include stockpiling spring cabbage and radish, securing spare cabbage seedlings for prompt cultivation recovery, and enhancing cultivation area through contract agreements with agricultural cooperatives.  The ministry is also closely monitoring other key summer crops like watermelons, melons, and peaches, with initiatives in place to manage risks associated with weather-induced diseases and pests.  Relevant agencies and councils are collaborating to maintain supply stability and address any disruptions in agricultural production caused by adverse weather conditions.

Tighter Budgets on the Way

Summary:  Koreans face tighter budgets as groceries and snacks see price hikes, notably with Lotte Wellfood increasing prices by an average of 12 percent for 17 chocolate products starting June 1, affecting favorites like Ghana chocolate and Pepero.  Lotte Wellfood attributes the hike to soaring cocoa prices, driven by adverse weather conditions in major cocoa-producing countries like Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.  Additionally, Dongwon F&B plans up to a 25 percent price increase for seaweed items, while Sempio Foods aims to raise prices of around 30 soy sauce products by an average of 9 percent starting mid-June.  Convenience store items will also be affected, with Duracell batteries set to be around 9 percent more expensive and Gillette's disposable razor jumping 12.5 percent.  Lotte Chilsung Beverage and major discount marts suggest beverage price increases of 5 to 8 percent as well.



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Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Embassy - Seoul
Tel: 82-2-6951-6848 Fax: 82-2-720-7921