Photo: Colombian avocado – Eurofresh Distribution
South Korea has granted access to Colombia’s Hass avocado. Colombia’s Agriculture Minister Rodolfo Zea Navarro said the Asian market has huge potential: “South Korea is a strategic partner in Asia. Between 2016 and 2020, its avocado imports grew by 252 per cent, and it is currently the fifth largest importer of this product in Asia.”
Colombia is now establishing itself as a major global player in the avocado sector, with access to 26 markets worldwide. Indeed, avocados have become the second-largest non-traditional product in the country’s agri-export basket, with sales totalling US$144m in 2020.
With South Korea’s domestic production of grapes falling, the country is relying ever more on imports. This opens up opportunities for the world’s major producers, especially Chile, with whom South Korea signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2004. Despite government efforts to protect the domestic grape industry by imposing higher tariffs, the share of imported grapes continues to rise. Chile, which benefitted from its early FTA access, has the highest market share. However, US grape imports have also been on the rise since South Korea removed its off-season tariffs in 2016.
South Korea’s aging farming population is another contributory factor to the decline in production, but the increased popularity of the Shine Musket variety, which is grown locally, has slowed the fall in domestic grape cultivation. South Korean consumers seek diversity in grape varieties, which has led to the introduction of new varieties every season. They are also willing to pay higher prices for premium products. Indeed, the price of grapes has continued to rise as demand still exceeds supply. The overall grape market in South Korea, which was once stagnant, is now projected to continue growing due to strong consumer demand.
A typhoon-hit summer has driven up vegetable prices in South Korea, as the country prepares for the Chuseok festival in autumn. JoongAng Daily reports that the prices of various kinds of vegetable have risen sharply. According to Korea Price Information data, the cost of offerings to ancestors at the Chuseok festival currently stand at around US$228 at a traditional market, up 15.5% from 2019. The price rises in supermarkets is even more pronounced, with average cost of offerings going up by 24.7%. The Chuseok festival is held on 1 October and tends to be accompanied by higher prices as consumers purchase food for offerings to ancestors.
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, the price of Napa cabbage has increased by 58% in the past month and by 99% compared to the same time in 2019. The price of radishes has jumped 94% year-on-year, while the prices of watermelons, perilla chives and cherry tomatoes have risen by between 30 and 80%. As the festival draws nearer, prices are set to climb still further.
With the Turkish cherry season drawing to a close, the country has successfully shipped its first cherries to South Korea. Exporter Ana Fruit reported the successful arrival of its first commercial batch of cherries to South Korea on the shelves of Lotte Mart and other major retailers.
Speaking to Fruitnet, Ana Fruit’s marketing and sales manager, Yahya Erdogan, said, “We processed our first commercial shipment on 25 July after a sample shipment on 18 July. The fruit is now selling on retail shelves in Korea and the arrival of Turkish cherries has attracted coverage from local media. The key challenge we faced supplying Korea this year was delays with bringing Korean inspectors over to Turkey due to Covid-19. We’ve only been able to start shipping in the last weeks of the season due to uncertainty over when the inspectors could get here. We airfreight our cherries directly to Seoul but we also faced some capacity constraints following the decrease in services because of the pandemic.”
Turkish cherries will be competing alongside US cherries. However, with US shipments dropping in 2019, South Korea’s cherry imports fell 22% in 2019/20, totalling 14,873 tons, according to ITC Trademap data. The main variety of Turkish cherry that is exported is the Ziraat 0900, also known as Turkish Napoleon, which meets the global demand for good firmness and texture.
Turkey is the world’s third largest cherry exporter after Chile and the US. In the 2019/20 campaign, the country shipped 80,543 tons worth US$182 million. Currently, most of the country’s cherries are exported to Russia, Europe and Iraq. Asia received around 2,500 tons in 2019/20, with China, Hong Kong and Singapore the major markets.
China’s grape production is predicted to rise 9% to 10.8 million tons, as the country bounces back from last year’s severe frosts. Record exports of 360,000 tons are predicted, with higher shipments to the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. Imports are estimated to fall by 10% to 27,000 tons, due to reduced shipments from top suppliers Chile, Peru, and the US. Small deliveries from the EU have commenced following recent market access for Spain and Portugal. However, the US remains China’s top Northern Hemisphere supplier.
In recent years, there has been a growing appetite across Asia for South Korean grapes, with export volumes growing across the continent’s markets. South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs reported that grape exports were up 64.2% in 2019, to US$23million. The Shine Muscat variety accounted for 72.4% of all the country’s grape exports, followed by the Geobong and Campbell varieties, which accounted for 13.8% and 13.3% respectively. In 2019, Vietnam became the largest importer of South Korean grapes, on the back of increased shipments around the Lunar New Year, according to a report by Korea Bizwire. “In Vietnam, 70 per cent of Shine Muscat are used for ancestral rites and gifts and the Lunar New Year,” said Hwang Eui-chang, head of the Korea Grape Export Association. Indeed, Vietnam’s imports in 2019 were up 34.8% from the previous year, overtaking shipments to China and Hong Kong.
The Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea has held a ceremony to celebrate the arrival of its bananas in the lucrative market. The first of the fruit from Vietnam officially arrived at a branch of the Lotte Mart retail chain near Seoul Station on June 16. The Vietnamese bananas are grown in the Lo Pang highlands in Gia Lai province. Lotte Mart is expected to import approximately 1,600 tons of bananas from Vietnam each year to distribute to its 81 supermarkets across South Korea. Although Vietnamese banana has been exported to South Korea since 2014, it was not sold at large supermarket chains. In 2015, around 180 tons of banana (worth US$132,000) were exported from Vietnam to South Korea, but by 2019, the volume had reached 6,685 tons (US$4.2 million). The South Korean market is a lucrative one, with consumers spending over US$300 million each year on imported bananas. The Philippines is currently the largest banana exporter, accounting for 78.6%, followed by Ecuador (7.7%), Guatemala (5.2%), Peru (5%), Mexico (1.6%) and Vietnam (1.4%).
© Coex Food Week
The Coex Food Week 2020 is one of the most anticipated international exhibitions in the Asian calendar, with 25% of exhibitors visiting from overseas. This year’s event will be held from November 25 to 28 at Coex Halls A, B, C in Seoul, South Korea. At last year’s edition, there were 872 exhibitors, with 65 representatives from 18 different countries around the globe, with over 1,900 booths. The event welcomed approximately 44,000 visitors from different parts of the world.
The exhibition is organised by Coex Co., Ltd and supported by the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Rural Development Administration, the Korea Food Research Institute, and the Korea Agency of HACCP Accreditation & Service.
Since 2013, it has been certified by the UFI (Union des Foires Internationales), and hailed as a ‘Promising Exhibition’ by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (formerly known as the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy) in 2010.
Anna Hommel, Marketing Associate at Tridge // Photo credit: Yzza Ibrahim
With data intelligence, Tridge is making the global food trading industry trustworthy and sustainably connected
One of the challenges in the agriculture and food industry is finding the right business partner. This is the sole purpose of Tridge – to be able to connect buyers with suppliers backed with the right information. The platform provides market intelligence such as news and seasonal trends about the food sector. In addition to this, it also enables buyers to touch base with verified suppliers through the company’s own big data management system and a network of local experts from across the globe.
Not only can subscribers find the right trading partner, but a wide array of market research is also available to help businesses make informed decisions. On top of their supplier database, Tridge can provide data on import and export, pricing data, country-specific trends and analysis, and the latest market events.
Like many other platforms, Tridge works on a subscription model. There are different subscription offerings that a client can choose from depending on the needs of the company. At present, Tridge has 74,000 verified suppliers from all over the world with visitors reaching 200,000 per month. Because of this, purchase requests have reached a level of 1,400 per month, triggering the company to expand its operations. The company’s top markets include India, the US, and Turkey. They are growing fast, however, in Africa and cite South Asia and Latin America as their core regions.
Established in 2015, Tridge is a Seoul-based food trading platform with a global clientele across more than 150 countries. It continues to expand its network to reach more B2B players, enabling more companies to do business with each other in a more data-driven and seamless way.
For inquiries: Anna Hommel; TRIDGE; +82-2-6674-5517, +822-6674-6600; email@example.com; https://www.tridge.com
Author: Yzza Ibrahim
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.
As of November 21st, Italian kiwi gained access to the lucrative South Korean market, with shipments expected for the 2019/2020 campaign. CSO Italy reports that this result is the fruit of lengthy work culminating in inspections carried out from 4 to 8 November by the South Korean authorities in four orchards and establishments across Italy. These on-site surveys are an annual requirement as part of the agreement between the two countries.
CSO Italy’s international relations manager, Simona Rubbi, said, “I recommend that all operators always pay the utmost attention when exporting to distant and difficult markets and maintain a great sense of collective responsibility.”
There is also good news from Colombia for Italian kiwi farmers, who can resume shipments to the Latin American country after a hiatus of three years, due to the discovery of harmful organisms.