SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — As the long-term economic slump continues in South Korea, price-competitive fruits that might not meet conventional beauty standards are proving popular among South Korean consumers.
Sales of ‘ugly’ fruits jumped more than fivefold between 2010 and 2016, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) announced on Thursday after analyzing household accounts of 1,486 households living in cities.
In the past, fruits that were pretty on the outside with no scratches or bruises were most popular, but the growing economic burden on the shoulders of South Koreans is seeing consumers overlook fruit imperfections.
When it comes to pork, a similar pattern was also observed.
Instead of purchasing pork belly, a cut widely popular in South Korea, an increasing number of consumers are opting for pork shoulder, a cheaper cut that contains less fat, which the RDA interpreted as one of the examples of ‘value conscious consumption’, a new consumer trend observed in recent years.
‘Value conscious consumption’ refers to a strict and through assessment of products in a variety of aspects including price competitiveness and product satisfaction before purchasing.
With the growing number of working couples, time-saving items such as peeled garlic and deodeok, also known as Codonopsis lanceolata, also saw their sales increase, up 60 percent from 2010.
Between those in their 60s and high-income earners with a monthly income of over 6 million won, sales of super grains such as oats and linseed increased, while special agricultural products such as purple peppers and black watermelons also proved popular.
Against this backdrop, the RDA has defined value conscious consumption, convenience food, color-modified agricultural products and super grains as four keywords that reflect the latest agricultural products shopping trends among urban households.
“Contrary to the past when production led to consumption most of the time, only agricultural products that interest consumers can survive in the market today,” La Sueng-yong, the head of the RDA, said.
Earlier this month, reports showed sales of organic food products in South Korea have nearly halved over the past few years, as the long-term economic slump sees more and more consumers hesitate to open their wallets for eco-friendly and chemical-free produce.
Since then, South Korean agricultural authorities have introduced measures to boost overall sales with the latest example being the RDA’s announcement earlier this week introducing much stricter standards for the genetic engineering of Hanwoo cattle.