SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Wholesale prices for chicken products sold at major supermarkets and chicken franchises will be revealed to customers starting today.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on its official website on Thursday it will require retail giants in the chicken industry to state wholesale prices in a bid to improve transparency and gain trust from consumers.
Unlike beef and pork, for which prices have been decided through auctions as part of the distribution process, it’s the first time in the country that retail sellers of chicken products are made to follow a similar procedure.
In the past, from production through butchery to processing, consumers were unable able to see the additional cost added during the distribution process to the market price for chicken products.
While many welcome the agriculture ministry’s timely decision to require chicken product sellers to disclose wholesale prices, officials from the ministry say only nine major companies, including Harim, accounting for over 75 percent of the chicken industry, will ‘voluntarily’ be on board with the new measure for the time being, as agriculture law reforms to make it a mandatory requirement will take time to pass.
Prices disclosed to the public starting today include the average price of chickens sold to chicken product producers from farms, and the price chicken franchises and major supermarkets pay to wholesalers.
One agriculture ministry official said, “With chicken wholesalers having to state prices at which chickens are sold to franchises, the chicken franchise industry will be more discreet with its pricing policy going forward.
“Consumers will also be aware of the discrepancy between wholesale and retail prices, giving them more information to call for fair and reasonable pricing.”
While the MAFRA says it plans to make the information available to other organizations such as Nonghyup Bank and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, some take issue with the fact that the price disclosure agreement will, for the time being, be applicable only to companies voluntarily participating, meaning other chicken wholesalers can evade the regulations simply by opting out of the new measure.
In response to criticism that the name of supermarket chains and chicken franchises won’t be disclosed, the MAFRA said the new measure is part of a gradual process towards transparency and that chicken and duck products will be subject to a similar mandatory price scrutiny as beef and pork products from the second half of next year.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)