South Korea’s per capita apple consumption increased to 11.4 kilograms in 2015 from 7.5 kg in 2005, driven by the abundant apple crop (582,846 MT) and a growing public perception of apples as a healthy and nutritional fruit. However, since 2015, apple consumption has gradually decreased to 9.2 kilograms per capita due to increased competition with other imported fruits. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, South Korea’s fruit imports increased by 49% to 720,000 tons, following new FTAs with major fruit exporting countries such as Chile, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
As the ratio of small family (single or two family member households) increased steadily in recent years, food consumption trend also changed toward demand for more convenient and smaller packages of healthy and nutritional food products.
South Korea exports very few of its apples as domestic apple prices are more attractive to apple growers and demand remains strong. Currently, South Korean phytosanitary regulations do not allow fresh apple imports.