SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — Per capita rice consumption in South Korea dropped to a record low in 2018, data showed Monday, although the rate of decrease slowed compared with recent years on the back of the popularity of ready-to-eat meals.
According to the data by Statistics Korea, the average annual consumption of rice per person came to 61 kilograms last year, down from 61.8 kg posted in 2017.
Rice is a key staple food for Koreans, but its consumption has been on a decline since 1980, when it reached 132.7 kg. The figure came to 136.4 kg in 1970.
The on-year drop of 1.3 percent in 2018 accelerated from the 0.2 percent annual dip posted in 2017, but the figure was lower compared with the average on-year decline of 1.79 percent posted for the 2008-2017 period, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.
The ministry said the rice consumption is contracting at a slower pace as the government started to include one-member households in the survey in 2017, with more people consuming ready-to-eat meals that are eaten with rice, such as soups and stews.
The ministry, however, said it still needs to closely monitor rice market developments for two or three more years to determine the overall trend.
The government will continue to support local firms to develop food products based on rice to promote further demand and roll out marketing programs to promote the nutritional benefits of rice to the people, it added.