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Kimchi industry in South Korea - statistics & facts

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made of various vegetables; pickled and fermented. Kimchi has gained special attention amid the pandemic since it was stated in several overseas newspapers that fermented food like Kimchi strengthens disease immunity. In addition, along with the steadily increasing popularity of Korean cuisine in the world, exports of kimchi peaked in 2020. The domestic demand for Kimchi products has also steadily increased. These altogether resulted in the Kimchi market reaching a value of about 1.45 trillion South Korean won as of 2020.

Kimchi culture in South Korea

Kimchi is a representative side dish that cannot be missed at the table of Koreans. Koreans consume almost two million tons of kimchi every year. In the country, there is a tradition of making kimchi before winter to preserve it until summer when fresh vegetables are supplied. Usually, many families gather to make a great amount of kimchi together and the completed kimchi is kept in the dedicated kimchi refrigerator. Kimchi refrigerators are small-sized refrigerators designed for storing kimchi at home, and almost all households have one in addition to a standard refrigerator. However, many people buy kimchi products without making kimchi at home because the process of making kimchi in such large quantities requires a lot of time and labor. As a result, the demand for commercial kimchi products has soared, and kimchi manufacturers are working to diversify products and develop their packaging and delivery services.

Kimchi business and key players

Kimchi manufacturing businesses in South Korea are mainly led by Daesang and CJ, with these two taking up almost 85 percent of the market. Daesang, the manufacturer of the first brand Kimchi Jongga, has maintained its first position in the Kimchi market. CJ, which owns the Bibigo brand, has grown rapidly in the food market by offering various food products other than kimchi. In addition to Bibigo Kimchi, CJ sells Ha Sunjung Kimchi products. In addition to these two companies, Pulmuone is striving to find its firm position in the Kimchi market by developing a variety of Kimchi products such as vegan Kimchi. In addition to the manufacturing sector, the home appliance business is also a characteristic of the Kimchi industry. Home appliance companies such as Samsung and LG are involved in such businesses. Kimchi refrigerators are used to keep kimchi separately from other refrigerated foods to create the perfect growing conditions for Kimchi. Every year, over one million Kimchi refrigerators are sold in the country.

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Kimchi industry in South Korea

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Leading destinations for Kimchi exports

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