SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – Fruit, nut and vegetable products that do not contain additives, buoyed by greater interest in healthy living, are soaring in popularity.
Revenues of the so-called “well-being” products at major retailers increased by a whopping 40.3 percent from 2015 to 2016, recording 536.7 billion won, per a report by the agriculture ministry and a state-run corporation.
Last year marked the first time that annual revenues exceeded 500 billion won.
Strong market demand for the products continued unabated through the first six months of this year, registering 332 billion won in sales, representing a 32.3 percent increase over January through June last year.
Naturally, expectations are that this year’s sales will improve on last year’s.
Industry experts identify CJ Cheil Jedang’s “Matbam” – roasted chestnuts – as the trailblazer product that laid the groundwork for the industry. First appearing on supermarket shelves in 2003, within half a year CJ had hit its revenue target of 1 billion won, attracting the attention of other food companies.
Only about 20 years into its existence, the industry of fruit, nuts and vegetable products is generally classified as foods with no additives included and with minimal processing. In South Korea, popular products are typically snacks like Matbam, as well as almonds, other nuts and even jerky.
The report from which the revenue data was derived also contained research that showed fruit, nut and vegetable (and jerky) products were considered favorably as alternatives to traditional meals. This is possibly because the more of the original good (fruit, nuts) the product contains, the more customers feel the products “fill them up”.
Breaking down the products into categories last year, processed fruit and vegetable products accounted for 335.7 billion won. Nuts amounted to 405.2 billion won, and dried sweet potato and other products equaled 101.5 billion won.
Compared to production in 2010, the increases in the six-year span was astronomical, with sales rising by 50.7 percent, 354.2 percent and 401.2 percent, respectively.
Imports of foreign products are also on an upward trajectory. In the last decade, imports grew by 81.6 percent.
Lina Jang (email@example.com)