South Korea's Rice Exports Hit Record High in 2023

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog30-01-2024

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Exports of rice food products hit a record high of $217.2 million last year as convenience foods and health products became increasingly popular, South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture said Monday.


This represents a 19.5 percent increase from last year. Overseas shipments of products such as convenience rice, frozen nori wrapped rice (rice balls wrapped in seaweed flakes) and fried rice cakes (fried dough sticks in spicy sauce) have continued to grow since 2015 ($54.3 million in 2015, $66.5 million in) 2016, $72.0 million in 2017, $138.0 million in 2020, $164.0 million in 2021, and $181.8 million in 2022), and exceeded $200.0 million for the first time last year.


By country, the US was the largest market, accounting for 52.8 percent of the total at $114.8 million, ahead of Vietnam ($14.9 million), the European Union (EU) including the UK ($14.89 million), Japan ($12.58 million) and Australia ($7.1 million).


Experts said the increase in demand for rice products is attributed to growing interest in ready-to-eat food and healthy products. "There are several reasons for the popularity of Korean rice foods. The large number of quality products that are easy to prepare in a microwave oven is one of them, and the fact that Korean food is regarded as a healthy cuisine also seems to have had a positive impact." Consumption at Inha University.


Moon Jung-hoon, a professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Seoul National University, attributes the trend to the popularity of Korean pop culture. He noted, "Foreigners introduce themselves to Korean food out of curiosity after becoming interested in Korean food presented in Korean dramas or Korean pop music, and as they become more accustomed to Korean products, they seem to increase their consumption of Korean products."


Lee predicts that overseas sales of rice foods will continue to grow in the future. To support the growth of the industry, the government has set goals to expand the size of the local market for rice products to 17 trillion won ($12.7 billion) by 2028, with exports increasing to $400 million.


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