Open to Imports

OTA estimates total organic market consumer sales of Republic of Korea at about $224 million USD per year.

  • The total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea in 2015 is US$181.2mn, making it the 17th largest market in the world by value.
  • Per capita spending on organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea is US$3.6, which ranks as the 27th largest spending per capita in the world.
  • The largest company by sales in organic packaged food and beverages is Maeil Dairies Co Ltd, which maintains 44.7% of total sales. Maeil Dairies is followed by National Agricultural Cooperative Federation and Namyang Dairy Products Co Ltd.
  • Organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea will see slow year-on-year growth of close to 2% in 2015. This is much slower than the rest of the Asia Pacific region, which will experience more than 13% year-on-year growth in 2015.
  • South Korea maintains a market size for organic packaged foods and beverages of US$181.2mn in 2015, which is 0.5% of global category sales.
  • Within the Asia Pacific region, only China and Japan surpass South Korea in total value sales of organic packaged food and beverages.
  • South Korea will experience slow forecast growth of sales of organic packaged food and beverages, at 1.7% from 2015–2020.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Quick Facts

  • The total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea in 2015 is US$181.2mn, making it the 17th largest market in the world by value.
  • Sales of packaged organic food and beverages are projected to grow in coming years, but at much slower rates than in the recent past.
  • South Korean companies are projected to maintain their dominance of the organic packaged food and beverage market due to their first-mover status and established brand recognition.

Market Trends

Competitive Landscape

  • The competitive landscape in South Korea is relatively fragmented, with “Other” brands representing a 41.8% and 66.8% share in the organic food and organic beverages markets, respectively. 
  • South Korean company Maeil Dairies Co Ltd dominates the organic food market with a 46.3% share. South Korean player Nokchawon Co Ltd. is the organic beverage market leader with a 23.1% share
  • No other brand records more than 7% share of either the organic food or organic beverage market.

Prospects and Growth Opportunity

  • Sales of organic packaged food and beverages are projected to grow in coming years, but at much slower rates than in the recent past.
  • Organic cheese, milk, and 100% juice will drive overall category sales value growth in coming years.
  • Despite increasing brand diversity, Maeil Dairies will maintain a solid leading position in food due to being the first-to-market with organic milk formula.

General Health & Wellness Trends

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

Organic packaged food & beverage data

 

Data type

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

CAGR
(12-15)

CAGR
(15-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health & wellness products consumption

6,584.7

6,675.7

6,780.6

6,895.0

6,950.0

6,977.6

7,026.2

1.5%

0.6%

Organic packaged food and beverages consumption

113.9

160.9

174.9

181.2

185.5

189.0

192.0

16.7%

1.9%

Organic packaged food consumption

109.8

156.7

170.6

176.9

181.2

184.6

187.6

17.2%

2.0%

Organic beverages consumption

4.1

4.2

4.3

4.3

4.4

4.4

4.4

1.6%

0.8%

Organic packaged food and beverages consumption as a % of total health & wellness products consumption

1.7%

2.4%

2.6%

2.6%

2.7%

2.7%

2.7%

-

-

 

Economic & demographic data

 

Data type

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total population

50.0

50.2

50.4

50.6

50.8

51.0

51.1

% Middle and upper class of total population

41.2%

41.4%

41.4%

41.4%

41.4%

41.4%

41.4%

% Population aged 65+

11.8%

12.2%

12.7%

13.1%

13.5%

13.9%

14.4%

% Population aged 0-14

15.1%

14.7%

14.4%

14.0%

13.7%

13.6%

13.5%

% Population with higher education degrees

28.3%

28.6%

28.9%

29.3%

29.5%

29.8%

30.0%

Average number of children per household

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.4

GDP per capita

24,355.7

25,166.7

26,040.2

27,280.8

27,949.5

28,681.2

29,394.7

Consumer expenditure per capita (US$)

11,810.3

12,021.0

12,304.5

12,598.4

12,852.5

13,096.6

13,341.8

Consumer expenditure per capita on food and non-alcoholic beverages (US$)

1,574.1

1,610.1

1,627.3

1,641.7

1,660.1

1,673.0

1,686.2

Retailer & urban area data

 

Data category

Rank

Urban Area/retailer

Population 
(mns)

 

 

 

 

Top urban areas by population (2015)

1

Seoul

24.6

Top urban areas by population (2015)

2

Busan

4.2

Top urban areas by population (2015)

3

Daegu

2.5

Top urban areas by population (2015)

4

Daejeon

1.6

Top urban areas by population (2015)

5

Gwangju

1.6

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

1

E-Mart

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

2

Homeplus

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

3

Lotte Mart

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

4

CU

-

Top grocery retailers by sales (2015)

5

GS 25

-

 

USDA GATS data

Rank

2015

2014

2013

2012

1

Grapefruit

Cherries

Cherries

Oranges

2

Cherries

Grapefruit

Coffee Roast

Grapes

3

Tomato Sauce

Coffee Roast

Cherry Tomatoes

Coffee Roast

4

Coffee Roast

Tomato Sauce

Oranges

Lettuce

5

Grapes

Grapes

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Policy Information

Government Agency(s)/Competent Authority

Authorized Government Agency(s): 

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
MAFRA's National Agricultural Product Quality Management Service (NAQS) is responsible for setting quality standards and grades for agricultural products, enforcing country of origin marks, GMO labeling requirements, and organic labeling for fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains in the marketplace, accrediting certifiers of non-processed organic produce, and post monitoring of labeling of organic processed food products in the market place. NAQS collects samples from retail markets and tests products for GMO content with RDA-developed testing methods.
 

Agency(s) Contact Information: 

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
94 Dasom2-ro
Government Complex-Sejong
Sejong-si 339-012,
Republic of Korea
Phone: 82-2-1577-1020
Website

Environment-Friendly Agriculture Division of the MAFRA
Phone:  82-44-201-2432
Fax:  82-44-868-0483
Email:  chds@korea.kr or kbb0922@korea.kr

NAQS
172, Anyang-no, Manan-gu, Anyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Phone: 82-31-446-0124
Fax: 82-31-446-0901
 

Organic Regulations and/or Standards

Name(s) of Regulation and/or Standard: 

The US has had an organic equivalence arrangement with Korea for organic processed foods since July 1, 2014.  Organic processed products certified in Korea or in the US may be sold as organic in either country. 
 
Korean Organic Regulations (KOR)
 
The new Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods consolidates Korea's organic regulations, and is sometimes referred to as the New Organic Regulations. Certification by a MAFRA-approved certifier is required for organic fresh produce, livestock products, and processed foods, unless an equivalency agreement is in place. 
 
See the USDA's Food and Agricultural Import Regulations report for more details.
 
Environment-friendly Agriculture Promotion Act (.pdf; unofficial English translation)
- Enforcement Regulations and Annexes
- Guidelines on Designation as a Foreign Certification Body
 
Food Industry Promotion Act (.pdf; bilingual, scroll down for English) 
- Enforcement Decree
- Enforcement Regulations and Annexes
- Guidelines for Designating and Operating Certification Agencies
- Certification Inspection by Site and Related Training Sessions
- Operational Guidelines for the Organic Processed Food Certification Program
 

Date of Implementation: 

2011

Regulation and/or Standard Scope: 

The new Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods consolidates Korea's organic regulations, and is sometimes referred to as the New Organic Regulations. Certification by a MAFRA-approved certifier is required for fresh produce, livestock, and processed products, unless it is a processed organic product that meets the requirements of the US - Korea equivelence agreement effective July 1, 2014. 

Imported Products Requirements

Imported Products: 

The U.S. has an organic equivalence arrangement with Korea for organic processed foods. US - Korea organic equivalency arrangement covers products which: 

  • Are certified to the USDA or Korean organic regulations 
  • Are “processed products” as defined by the Korean Food Code 
  • Contain at least 95% organic ingredients 
  • Have their final processing (as defined in the Korean Food Code) occur in the US or Korea 
  • U.S. products: do not contain apples or pears produced with the use of antibiotics 
  • Korean products: do not contain livestock products produced with the use of antibiotics 

US processed organic products exported to Korea must be accompanied by the NAQS Import Certificate of Organic Processed Foods that includes the statement “Certified in compliance with the terms of the US – Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement.” Also, a copy of USDA/NOP organic certificate shall be submitted for import inspection in Korea.

The Act on the Management and Support for the Promotion of Eco-Friendly Agriculture/Fisheries and Organic Foods (New Organic Act) requires all domestic and imported organic processed products other than those covered by the equivalency to be certified by a MAFRA-accredited certifying agent. Each product is required to get an organic certification in order to be sold as organic in Korea.   

Critical Variances
The US - Korea equivalency arrangement applies ONLY to processed products as defined by the Korean Food Code (Korean Food Code 1.2.29): "Processed food" refers to a food manufactured, processed, and packaged by adding food or food additives to food raw materials (agricultural, forestry, livestock, or marine products), transforming food raw materials (such as grinding or cutting) till their original forms cannot be recognized, or mixing such transformed ones or adding food or food additives to such mixture. However, where, without the use of food additives or other materials, the agricultural, forestry, livestock, or marine products are simply cut, peeled, salted, ripened, or heated (except the cases where heating is performed for sterilization or heating causes significant changes to those products) till their original forms can be recognized or where sanitary risks from treatment processes are not expected and food raw materials are simply treated so as to allow organoleptic identification of food quality, such food products are excluded from the definition of the processed food.”

The US - Korea equivalency arrangement does NOT provide for equivalency for trade in raw and unprocessed products in accordance with the Korean Food Code. There are no provisions in the agreement covering organic aquaculture. All domestic and imported organic products other than those covered by the equivalency must be certified by a MAFRA-accredited certifying agent.

Seal Use
Use of the USDA Organic seal and/or the MAFRA Organic Logo is allowed and optional, provided that products meet the USDA/Korean labeling requirements.

Certifier Mark
Korea and the US require that the Accredited Certifier must be identified on the label.

Product must meet Korean general labeling requirements.

Organic agricultural produce complying with the U.S. organic standards or international standards still needs certification from MAFRA's official certification agency to carry a "Korean language organic label" in the Korean market.

Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management (2016)
Foreign facilities, including food facilities, packing houses, grain storage facilities, fishery plants, etc., that handle products inspected by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) must register and agree to inspection by MFDS. Submit registrations online, or by mail. See details in the GAIN Report on Korea's Special Act on Food Safety Management.

Concerning pesticide residues and imports:

Certification and Accreditation

Certification: 

In addition to certification for plant and animal products, certification is also required for products comprised of less than 70% organic ingredients. Certification information is available online.

Accreditation Method: 

Government

Accreditation: 

Accreditation is done by MAFRA's National Agricultural Product Quality Management Service (NAQS), and must be renewed every five years. 

 

Additional Information

Additional Information: 

Definitions

Review definitions of terminology included in this website.