The Korea Herald


Food spending hits record in 2010

By 최희석

Published : March 6, 2011 - 18:06

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Korean families’ spending on food rose to a record high last year due to surging prices of agricultural goods, government data showed Sunday.

According to Statistics Korea, households’ average monthly expenditure on food came in at 602,604 won per month ($539) last year.

Last year was the first time that the figure, which includes expenditure on groceries, beverages and eating out, rose above the 600,000 won mark.

The figure is for households consisting of more than two individuals, and excludes households that work in the agricultural and fisheries industries.

By category, expenditure on groceries and non-alcoholic beverages increased 6.5 percent from the previous year to come in at 316,936 won, while the cost of meals, which includes eating out and delivered meals, rose 4 percent to 285,668 won.

Compared to 2003, both categories increased 24 percent, while overall household expenditure rose 35 percent.

While the cost of eating has increased at a slower rate, the upward pressure on the figures looks unlikely to ease in the immediate future.

On average, the price of agricultural, fisheries and livestock products increased by 17.7 percent from February last year.

Last month’s changes in food prices accounted for 1.55 percentage points of the 4.5 percent year-on-year inflation recorded last month.

The rapid rise in food prices is said to be fueled by abnormal weather conditions reducing harvests and the shortage in livestock products caused by foot-and-mouth disease.

By Choi He-suk  (