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South Korea Food Processing and Ingredients Bi-Annual Report 2010

09 April 2010

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Korea is a major importer of raw materials and ingredients for food processing. About 70 per cent of food products in Korea are imported, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The size of the Korean food processing industry is estimated at $50 billion for 2008.

SECTION I. Market Summary

The gross output of the Korean food processing industry, including animal feed, beverages and seafood, is estimated at $50.4 billion (55.7 trillion won, $1 = 1103 won) in 2008, up from 48.1 trillion won in 2007. The sector is composed of about 4,061 enterprises (with employment size of 10 workers or more) and about 160,000 workers.

The total imports of agricultural, food, fishery and forestry in 2009 are estimated at almost $20 billion from the world. With $4.6 billion in sales in 2009, the United States is estimated to account for 24 percent of Korean agricultural and food imports. Due to the lack of arable farmland, high production costs and growing food requirements, Korea has been a major importer of basic foodstuffs for further processing. Korea imports about 70 percent of total agricultural product needs. The United States, China, European Union (EU) and Australia are the major agricultural exporters to Korea. With a territory about the size of the state of Indiana and population of 50 million, Korea is the 5th largest market for U.S. agricultural products.


Korea imports a broad range of basic, intermediate and semi processed agricultural products. Corn, soybeans, wheat, essential oils, frozen concentrated orange juice, almonds, walnuts, powdered milk, whey powder, beef, pork, beef tallow, seafood, processed fruits and vegetables, coffee, potato products, vegetable oils and cocoa products exemplify the raw materials and ingredients imported into Korea for use in food processing. U.S. suppliers have a strong opportunity to export inputs for use in food processing in Korea.

The United States was the largest supplier of agricultural, food, fishery and forestry products to Korea, with a 23.6 percent market share in 2009, followed by China with 15.4 percent, the EU with 8.9 percent, Australia with 8.3 percent and Brazil with 6.8 percent. These five countries accounted for about 63 percent of the total Korean agricultural, food, fishery and forestry product imports in 2009.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

April 2010

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