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Health functional food market size in South Korea 2015-2019

The market for health functional foods in South Korea amounted to approximately 3.73 trillion South Korean won in 2019. It has grown significantly over the past five years, rising by more than 67 percent from around 2.23 trillion won in 2015. Health functional foods refers to specific products made by compacting elements that are beneficial to the human body into easily consumable packages. They are consumed for their promoted health benefits, such as improving eyesight, countering natural aging, and strengthening the immune system.

Popularity of health functional foods

Korean red ginseng products were the most popular type of health functional foods in 2019, accounting for around 36 percent of all sales. Probiotics accounted for around 16 percent of sales, as well. Health functional foods have been popular among older Koreans because of the supposed health benefits, with over 60 percent of Koreans in their 50s and 60s saying they purchased such products in a consumer behavior survey. Certain products are especially attractive to older Koreans, such as plant extracts to maintain one’s eyesight and counter the effects of aging. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it is not just older people but Koreans of all ages who are increasingly seeking out health functional foods to bolster their health. The diversity, reasonable pricing, and improved accessibility are also behind the sales growth of these products.

Market for health functional foods

The total sales value of the Korean market for health functional foods amounted to around 2.95 trillion won in 2019. Just as with the market size, the sales value has increased continuously over the past five years. Almost 72 thousand tons of health functional foods were produced in Korea in 2019. Of this, the majority of products were sold to Korean consumers, while only a small portion were exported. The figures for 2020 are not yet available, but given the coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that both production and sales figures have increased significantly. For example, Korean’s media reporteds that sales in the first half of 2020 increased by around 50 percent from the 2019 figures.

Size of the health functional food market in South Korea from 2015 to 2019

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Release date

August 2020


South Korea

Survey time period

2015 to 2019

Supplementary notes

In order to calculate the size of the health functional food market, the following formula was applied:
Market size = (Production value) - (Export value) + (Import value)

Note: 1,000 South Korean won equal 0.86 U.S. dollars and 0.77 euros as of January 2020.

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Statistics on "Health functional food in South Korea"

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