Open to Imports
  • The total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea in 2017 is US$225.8mn, making it the 16th largest market in the world by value.
  • Per capita spending on organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea is US$4.43, which ranks as the 26th 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 53.4% of total sales. Maeil Dairies is followed by National Agricultural Cooperative Federation and Seoul Dairy Cooperative.
  • Organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea will see slow year-on-year growth of close to 2% in 2018. This is much slower than the rest of the Asia Pacific region, which will experience approximately 13% year-on-year growth in 2018.
  • South Korea maintains a market size for organic packaged foods and beverages of US$225.8mn in 2018, which is 0.6% 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 a 2.6% CAGR from 2017–2022.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Quick Facts

  • The total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in South Korea in 2017 is US$225.8mn, making it the 16th 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.
  • Organic beverages are uncommon in South Korea, and sales consist mainly of organic 100% juice and green tea.

Market Trends

Competitive Landscape

  • South Korean company Maeil Dairies Co Ltd dominates the competitive landscape with a 53.4% value share in 2017. South Korean player National Agricultural Cooperative Federation held the number-two spot in 2017 with a 6.4% value share.
  • No other company records more than 4.5% share of the organic packaged food and beverages 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 edible oil and rice, pasta and noodles will drive overall category sales value growth in coming years.
  • Sales of most products targeting children will decline in the medium term as South Korea’s birth rate falls.

General Health & Wellness Trends

General Economic & Demographic Landscape

Economy:

  • South Korea’s economy is growing at a moderate pace, driven mainly by a significant increase in public spending and modest gains in private final consumption.
  • South Korea’s potential growth rate is around 3%.
  • Annual rates of real GDP growth will gradually fall to around 2.0% by 2025.

Population demographics:

  • South Korea’s population is growing slowly and totaled 51.0 million in 2017.
  • The most important population shift is occurring in those over 65 years of age, a group that represented 14.0% of the total population in 2017 and will increase to 24.3% of the population by 2030.
  • As South Korea’s population ages, its labor force contracts, which may pose economic challenges in coming years.

Income & expenditure:

  • Disposable income per capita in South Korea amounted to US$15,306 in 2017, and real gains of 2.1% are forecast for 2018.
  • Communications will see the strongest category spending in the 2018-2030 period, followed by health goods and medical services.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

Organic packaged food & beverage data

Data type

Unit

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

CAGR
(14-17)

CAGR
(17-20)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health & wellness products consumption

USD million

     6,133.9

     6,157.2

     6,287.5

     6,424.7

     6,565.0

     6,716.2

     6,870.9

1.6%

2.3%

Organic packaged food and beverages consumption

USD million

        175.5

        195.6

        214.8

        225.8

        233.8

        240.1

        245.8

8.8%

2.9%

Organic packaged food consumption

USD million

        171.1

        191.0

        210.0

        220.7

        228.6

        234.7

        240.3

8.9%

2.9%

Organic beverages consumption

USD million

            4.4

            4.6

            4.8

            5.1

            5.2

            5.4

            5.5

5.0%

2.5%

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

%

            0.0

            0.0

            0.0

            0.0

            0.0

            0.0

            0.0

-

-

Economic & demographic data

Data type

Unit

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total population

million

          50.4

          50.6

          50.8

          51.0

          51.1

          51.3

          51.4

% Middle and upper class of total population

%

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

% Population aged 65+

%

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.2

            0.2

% Population aged 0-14

%

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

            0.1

% Population with higher education degrees

%

            0.3

            0.3

            0.3

            0.3

            0.3

            0.3

            0.3

Average number of children per household

children

            0.5

            0.5

            0.5

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

            0.4

GDP per capita

USD per capita

   26,054.9

   27,318.6

   28,495.0

   30,011.7

   30,774.9

   31,545.2

   32,278.9

Consumer expenditure per capita (US$)

USD per capita

   12,361.9

   12,608.9

   13,015.3

   13,507.6

   13,836.6

   14,145.7

   14,449.5

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

USD per capita

     1,637.9

     1,687.9

     1,780.1

     1,843.4

     1,886.6

     1,930.1

     1,974.1

Retailer & City Data

Data category

Rank

City/retailer

Population
(mns)

 

 

 

 

Top cities by population (2017)

1

Seoul

           25.4

Top cities by population (2017)

2

Busan

             4.3

Top cities by population (2017)

3

Daegu

             2.5

Top cities by population (2017)

4

Daejeon

             1.6

Top cities by population (2017)

5

Gwangju

             1.6

Top grocery retailers by sales (2017)

1

E-Mart

 -

Top grocery retailers by sales (2017)

2

GS 25

 -

Top grocery retailers by sales (2017)

3

Homeplus

 -

Top grocery retailers by sales (2017)

4

Lotte Mart

 -

Top grocery retailers by sales (2017)

5

CU

 -

USDA GATS data

Rank

2017

2016

2015

2014

  Export Value (US$, thousands)

1

Oranges

642.0

Cherries

359.0

Grapefruit

1,782.0

Cherries

1,545.0

2

Grapes

4,760.0

Coffee Roast

608.0

Cherries

980.0

Grapefruit

1,041.0

3

Coffee Roast

 1,736.0

Cherry Tomatoes

111.0

Tomato Sauce

882.0

Coffee Roast

689.0

4

Lettuce

97.0

Oranges

35.0

Coffee Roast

763.0

Tomato Sauce

443.0

5

Tomato Sauce

1,036.0

Tomato Sauce

724.0

Grapes

620.0

Grapes

440.0

Total

22,588.0

19,738.0

5,787.0

4,694.0

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 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:

  • Korea is shifting to a positive list system for pesticide residues which may be detectable in foods. Residue database 
  • Korea’s import tolerances system assesses safety and sets a maximum residue limit (MRL) of a pesticide that remains in food according to the regulations of foreign countries, if the product imposes no threat to human health, in the case an MRL has not been previously established in Korea.

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: 

Korea is on the EU's third country list.

USDA GAIN Report Retail Foods (2018)
USDA GAIN Report Retail Foods Biennial Report (2017)
USDA GAIN Report Korea's New Biotech Labeling Requirements (2017)
USDA GAIN Report Exporter Guide (2017)
USDA GAIN Report Korea's Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management (2016)
USDA GAIN Report Republic of Korea Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification (2017)
USDA GAIN Report Republic of Korea Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2017)
USDA GAIN Report Pet Food Market Update (2016)
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - Republic of Korea Exporter Guide 2018

Definitions

Review definitions of terminology included in this website.