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Opportunities for Premium Healthy Foods in South Korea

30.01.2019
Korean consumers have started paying closer attention to the quality, ingredients, and safety of the foods they consume due to recent healthier lifestyle trends and product safety concerns. The awareness and interest towards international foods have increased exponentially in recent years as more foreign products have entered the market and consumers are more exposed to foreign food cultures. These trends combined with high amount of dispensable income and considerable expenditure on food products makes Korea an interesting market for Finnish food and beverage producers.

As an answer to the demand, Korean food and beverage companies now increasingly seek produce that could be described as organic, natural, healthy and wild and that has none, or a reduced amount of additives and preservatives. Here Finnish suppliers have a competitive advantage as the country's clean nature and high-quality food products have a good reputation in the Korean food industry.

Companies and sectors benefitting from this opportunity

  • Food and beverage producers

Solutions or products needed

  • Naturally healthy food, such as products based on berries or xylitol
  • Healthy beverages
  • Healthy grain-based cereals or snacks
  • Premium childrenĀ“s foods & snacks
  • Organic food products
  • HMR Foods

Team Finland activities available for Finnish companies

South Korea is one of the focus countries in the Food from Finland growth program. During 2019, Food from Finland will have several activities on the Korean market, which include:

  • South Korea Coaching Day in Helsinki for Finnish food & beverage producers in February
  • FINLAND DAY meet-the-buyer and media event in April
  • NORDIC FOOD & BEVERAGE DAY 2019 meet-the-buyer event in November
  • Consumer promotion campaign with a Korean department store for companies already with importers in late 2019

In addition, Business Finland has Global Network personnel based in South Korea. With their knowledge of the market, they are able to advise and connect Finnish companies with relevant players in the value chain.

Are you interested in seizing the opportunity?

Please contact our advisor Jani Toivanen, jani.toivanen@businessfinland.fi, +82 2 725 2076

Read more

Food and drink internet retailing in South Korea is growing especially fast, thanks to rapid home delivery systems and convenience of buying online. Especially mobile purchasing already amounts to over 60% of all F&B internet purchases. According to Euromonitor, online purchasing grew 18.2% between 2016 and 2017, 105.5% from 2012-2017, and is forecasted to keep growing rapidly. Various internet malls with huge customer bases offer an easy starting channel for Finnish companies to start their sales in the Korean market.

Naturally healthy packaged food sales grew 6.6% between 2016-2017 as consumers are looking for more and healthier alternatives. The local producers are focusing on developing products with reduced sugar or sodium, reduced fats, and reduced cholesterol to meet the demand for healthier products.

Organic packaged foods and organic beverages sales both grew by 5% between 2016-2017. Especially organic dairy products and organic baby foods recorded the highest growth in this category. Organic baby foods are categorized as super premium foods, as the parents are willing to spend extra on high quality products for their children. Organic juices, tea, edible oils, pasta, and noodles have also highly increased in popularity. With the growing demand, organic products' sales channels have diversified and they can now be found not only in department stores, but also from separate organic sections of hypermarkets, premium hypermarkets, or online malls.

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