At its recent strategic planning conference in Carlsbad, Calif., the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) marked 30 years of operations in South Korea. USMEF Korea Director Jihae Yang noted that improved market access and rising incomes have helped fuel tremendous growth in red meat consumption in Korea. Per capita beef consumption has more than tripled since 1990, reaching 13 kilograms last year. Per capita pork consumption has more than doubled to 26.6 kilograms.
Even before COVID-19, Korea was a pacesetter in sales of fresh food through e-commerce platforms and this trend has accelerated greatly during the pandemic. Sales of home meal replacement (HMR) products, which expand consumers’ options for high-quality, in-home dining, are soaring in Korea. Yang explained that while HMR products are popular with single-person households in Korea, sales growth has been largely driven by families with children.