Since the 2000s, the organic food and beverage sector has been on the rise in Korea.
Starting primarily with the baby food sub-sector, taken up by health-conscious parents, the trend currently includes products like organic cereals, dairy, bakery products, spreads, confectionery, sauces, dressings and condiments, oil and fats, beer, wine & spirits, juice, tea, coffee & cocoa, fruits & vegetables and meat products.
Of the above, three sub-sectors make up 91% of the Korean organic food market.
These are organic baby food, organic rice, pasta and noodles, and organic dairy.
The remaining product categories have smaller shares of the market, but their consumer base is expanding.
The transformation of the Korean consumer base is a by-product of a larger population with a higher disposable income and growing interest in well-being and premium food products.
Foreign companies account for 10% of the processed food & beverage market share.
However, this number can increase to up to 70% when taking into account the fact that locally made finished products use imported organic ingredients.
This already well-established trend opens up lots of opportunities for European companies in the sector.
With a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and the European Union in place, the two economies are actively working jointly to facilitate bilateral market access.
The equivalency agreement signed in 2015 ensures that organic food and beverage certification processes run smoothly for any operators in the sector.
There are a few different business expansion strategies that European companies usually employ.
Whether companies take matters into their own hands and market their products or services directly, or cooperate with local retailers, or sell under a private label through local distributors, or even supply Korean manufacturers with quality raw ingredients, business opportunities are there for all companies willing to take the plunge.
Korea’s €447 million organic food & beverage market isn’t easily accessible for the average company, but the risks can be mitigated by making use of the right opportunities.
Here comes EU Gateway | Business Avenues, an EU-funded programme that organises yearly missions to Asian markets, including Korea.
Time and time again, the programme has demonstrated to be the missing link European companies needed to enter the Korean market smoothly and set up a solid business presence locally.
In 2020, a new EU Gateway | Business Avenues mission will take 50 of the best companies in this sector to Seoul.
During the event, participants get to showcase top quality organic food & beverage products made in Europe to a large local audience, and meet targeted companies that have potential to become new clients and customers.
Don’t miss the 2020 mission for Organic Food & Beverage, which will take place from 30 November to 4 December.
Check out more information about this and the other business mission openings for 2020 here.
Applications close 12 June.