The Korea Herald


Food Ministry aims to double kimchi exports to $300m by 2027

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Aug. 7, 2023 - 16:46

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs set a goal to double the exports of kimchi to $300 million by 2027 via a comprehensive plan to bolster the nation's kimchi industry, the ministry announced Monday.

The Food Ministry unveiled its five-year plan for 2023 to 2027 for the promotion of the domestic kimchi industry. The plan comes as the Kimchi Industry Promotion Act, which mandates the announcement of the nation's general plan to invigorate the indigenous kimchi industry every five years, was enacted in 2018.

According to the plan, the ministry said it aims to increase its kimchi exports to $300 million by 2027, from $141 million recorded in 2022.

In order to achieve the goal, the ministry said it will double the types of microorganisms, or starter cultures, that help control the fermentation process for kimchi, from the 27 logged in 2022 to 60 by 2027.

The ministry will also expand its distribution rate of kimchi starter cultures to small and mid-sized kimchi exporters from 18.4 percent in 2022 to 90 percent by 2027.

The plan further specified that the Food Ministry will expand exports of customized kimchi products such as low sodium and vegan kimchi to better suit foreign consumers' palates.

Development of technology to slow down the fermentation rate for exporting kimchi products over longer delivery periods will be promoted as well.

The ministry said it will designate Kimchi Day in 15 countries around the world by 2027 to promote the global awareness of kimchi. A consultative body of domestic kimchi industry-related agencies -- including the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation and the World Institute of Kimchi -- will also be formed to help boost the nation's kimchi exports.

According to the ministry’s estimates, the market value of the kimchi industry will increase to 7 trillion won ($5.3 billion) by 2027 from 5.3 trillion won recorded in 2021, with increased demand for kimchi from the United States and European markets functioning as boons for the nation's kimchi export business.

As of June, Korea's kimchi exports reached $81 million, up 4.8 percent from last year's $77 million. The number is a 20.3 percent increase from the nation's average annual exports of kimchi, which stands at $67 million.

The most popular export market for kimchi as of the first half of 2023 is Japan, recording $33.8 million and an annual exports increase rate of 2.7 percent, compared to the same period last year. The US came in second, with $20.2 million worth of kimchi exports and an annual exports increase rate of 22.7 percent, according to the ministry. Kimchi exports to Europe came in third, with $9.1 million in exports and an annual exports increase rate of 3.2 percent.