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'K-food needs to be industrialized'

Dec. 25, 2022 - 14:50 By Kim Hae-yeon

A still is seen from a kimchi advertisement that ran on a digital billboard at Times Square in New York until Nov. 6. (Daesang Jongga)

With Korean food's potential economic value reaching over 100 trillion won ($78 billion), experts emphasize the need for the industrialization of Korean food more than globalization.

At an academic conference titled "K-food's Industrialization" co-organized by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Korea Academic Society for the Food Service Industry Policy on Friday in Seoul, participants pointed out that the private sector must lead the industrialization of Korean food for the sector to become a new growth engine.

"According to a survey conducted by the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, the proportion of Hallyu consumers consuming Korean food increased from 24.3 percent in 2019 to 38.4 percent in 2021," Choi Kyu-wan, a professor at Kyung Hee University's School of Tourism, said at the conference.

Choi said that such a rise in demand in recent years makes it an especially attractive environment for the Korean food industry today.

K-food’s domestic economic ripple effect is estimated at some 23 trillion won, according to Choi. The figure is 16.4 percent of the domestic restaurant industry’s total sales in 2020, which was 140 trillion won.

It is also estimated that people spent some 87 trillion won at Korean restaurants abroad, putting the total value of Korean food at home and abroad at well over 100 trillion won, according to Choi.

The conference participants called on the private sector to create a Korean food value chain consultative body and for the government to formulate policies necessary for the growth of K-food industry.