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Health functional foods market in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

South Korea was ranked 4th longest working hours in the world. For the successful and rapid economic growth of the country, many workers in South Korea have contributed to increasing the GDP of the country; simultaneously increasing working hours. Longer working hours did not allow time for sports and a healthy diet, so people who were concerned about their health started to rely on health functional food and the demand for these products became very high.

The South Korean health functional food market is steadily growing. In 2021, the total market size of the health functional food market exceeded five trillion South Korean won. In the past, only vitamins were considered as health functional food. Recently however, new products with various ingredients and functions have been emerging.

While the main consumers of health functional food were middle-aged and older, the market is expanding to young women in their 20s and 30s who are interested in beauty and wellness such as weight loss and skin improvement. Accordingly, marketing methods of health functional food companies are changing and becoming diversified through PR marketing using social media and influencers to reach those audiences more effectively. That being the case, the cost for digital advertising for health functional foods has been increasing.

The largest health functional food company, Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC), focuses on producing Korean Red Ginseng products. Its main brand is called Cheong-Kwan-Jang and it is known as the most preferred red ginseng brand in South Korea. KGC was the first health functional food company to generate one trillion South Korean won of sales revenue. The sales revenue of two KGC plants located in Buyeo and Wonju accounted for around 40 percent of the South Korean health functional food market alone.

The most preferred product going by sales share, is Korean red ginseng but the most commonly taken products across all age groups were vitamins. South Koreans prefer to purchase health functional products via online shopping malls especially open markets and social commerce sites, such as 11st, Gmarket, and Coupang. Recently, the number of people who purchase the products directly from overseas has also increased because of cheaper prices and reliability.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 23 most important statistics relating to "Health functional food in South Korea ".


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