South Korea Market Updates
South Korea tends to grow of confectionery products import
although Korea maintains a strong processing industry in terms of confectionery
market. Imported packaged food is rapidly growing and diversifying, because
consumer tastes are changing and demand for high-quality and exotic products
As of 2016, South Korea imports 51,292 metric tons of
confectionery items from the world. The total value of import was $256 million
(includes only sugar candies and chocolate). The United States exports 5,219
metric tons ($34 million), which takes about 13 percent from the total value of
Recently products with high cocoa content are most popular
among Koreans, who prefer premium chocolates and chocolate in bars. Chocolates
and other food preparations containing cocoa have an 81% share in the Korean market,
and an import value of $323 million (include sugar candies, chocolate and
ingredients) in 2014, an increase of 13.8% from the previous year. It is followed
by the importation of cocoa powder without added sugar and cocoa paste, with
import amounts in the order of $26.1 million and $17.3 million respectively.
Interestingly, giving a gift is extremely important for chocolates
and sugary candies with some brands making over 90 percent of their annual
profits on Valentines’ Day (February 14th), White Day (March 14th) and
Christmas. Traditionally, women give chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day and
men return the favour a month later on White Day with chocolate and sugar
candies. Christmas is another very important season, and significant sales are
made through cake and chocolate. Especially, the total sales of bakery dessert such
as cakes are significant on Christmas holiday seasons.
Imported chocolates are popular and common in Korea.
According to the Korea Customs Services, total imports were $79 million in
2015. The top three countries exporting chocolate confectionery to Korea were
Italy ($23 million), Germany ($16 million) and the U.S ($15 million), followed
by Switzerland, Belgium, China and Japan. Especially, European countries hold
strong market presence in the minds of Korean consumers for example, Italy’s
Ferrero Rocher, Switzerland’s Lindt and Toblerone and Germany’s Litter.
Korean consumers enjoy premium chocolate as an alternative
luxurious dessert will case boxed assortments with premium packaging to show a
constant growth for next few years. Meanwhile, countlines will continue to show
positive value growth at constant prices by replacing energy bars, lower
calories and the healthy factors of nut and cocoa butter by manufacturers.