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Record for South Korea’s chicken exports in 2020

South Korea’s chicken exports reached a new record high in 2020 with shipments of processed chicken increasing nearly 60% from 2019.

Global demand for ready-to-eat products have continued to rise. Meanwhile, Korean pop culture enjoys more popularity worldwide. This, reports The Korea Herald, has seen overseas shipments of processed chicken reaching US$ 21 million in 2020, up 59.5% from the previous year.

Korean cuisine is rising in the global food scene, including Korean fried chicken. Photo: topntp26
Korean cuisine is rising in the global food scene, including Korean fried chicken. Photo: topntp26

The media house notes that a report from the Korea International Trade Association states that the jump came as exports of packaged traditional chicken soup, or samgyetang, as well as chicken breast, spiked due to increased demand for home meal replacements due to the coronavirus. The report, however, also attributed the increase to the “Korean wave”, which is the popularity of Korean dramas, movies, and music in countries around the world.

US largest customer of South Korean chicken

The US was South Korea’s largest chicken export market last year, with shipments reaching US$ 5.9 million, or 28.1% of the total. South Korean processed chicken accounted for 2.1% of US chicken imports, up from 0.9% in 2016. Hong Kong was South Korea’s second largest export market in 2020, at US$ 4.96 million, a 162.4% increase from the previous year. Japan accounted for 22.7% followed by Canada (6.7%), Taiwan (6.2%), Myanmar (2.5%), and Australia (2.1%).

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Meanwhile, The Korea Herald further reported that Korean cuisine is rising in the global food scene, expanding its presence around the world. “Tangy, salty, sweet and spicy — Korean food is all of that…By adding a Korean twist to existing foods like fried chicken and barbecue, the country is solidifying its ground in the global food scene,” it reported, noting increasing global popularity of the buldak spicy chicken noodle dish, and Korean-style fried chicken.