SEOUL, March 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Korean food products are turning out to be hugely popular in the Chinese market, and exports of processed foods have almost doubled over the past five years. Korean processed food exports are now worth almost five percent of the Chinese imported food market.
According to a report issued by the Beijing branch of the Korean Trade Association (KTA), exports of processed foods have increased greatly, from $300 million in 2011 to $620 million last year. As a result, processed foods from Korea had a 4.5 percent share of the Chinese market in 2015, increasing from 3.5 percent in 2011.
The products leading the charge were sugar ($95.87 million) and powdered milk ($87.27 million). Of note, powdered milk showed 28.8 percent growth, with the value of Korean exports expected to exceed $100 million this year.
Fruit juices also showed impressive export growth, recording a 216.9 percent increase compared to the previous year. The value of Korean fruit juice exports was $13.5 million.
Instant ramen noodles and beer continued to be adored by Chinese consumers, with exports worth $21.8 million and $19.8 million respectively. Exports of Korean ramen noodles, which have been traditionally popular in the Chinese market, showed a steep hike over the past five years recording average growth of 36.9 percent annually. However, competition seems to be heating up as Taiwanese instant ramen noodles topped Korean products last year.
Seasoned dried seaweed is the rookie in the game. Dong-a Ilbo, a Korean daily newspaper, reported that the ‘must buy item’ among Chinese tourists visiting Korea recorded average growth of 76.2 percent a year. The value of exports in 2011 was only $5.6 million, but has since increased to $54.08 million. Seasoned dried seaweed from Japan was once popular, but after the Fukushima nuclear accident, Chinese consumers are turning to Korean dried seaweed as a healthy snack and meal accompaniment.
Although Korean foods are popular in China, Korea still only has 0.84 percent share of the imported agri-food market in China.
Officials from the KTA say that fresh food products such as milk offer potential for growth, as Korea is geographically close to China compared to other competing countries. KTA representatives also commented that by using Korea’s advanced food-processing technology to produce products that meet Chinese consumers’ taste, agri-foods could play an important role in increasing exports.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)