Korean beef promotion event is held in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap News)
About half of Korean consumers cut spending on beef and pork due to concerns over foot-and-mouth disease, which has spread nationwide since November and caused significant damage, a survey conducted by Nielsen Company showed Tuesday.
The survey was conducted on 1,000 internet users in major cities in Korea including Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and Busan from Feb. 25 to March 4.
About 49 percent of respondents said they decreased local beef and pork consumption while 49.5 percent said they bought local beef and pork as usual.
The FMD has also dampened consumer sentiment even among those who know that FMD has no effect on human beings. Among them, 46 percent said they had no intention of buying beef and pork. Among those who incorrectly believed that FMD could affect human beings, 65.3 percent didn’t intend to buy these meats.
Just over 44 percent of customers said they would substitute beef and pork with other meat such as chicken and duck. About 33 percent said they will not buy local beef and pork for a while and 22.5 percent said they will purchase imported meats.
“The survey indicates consumer sentiment is down due to the FMD spread. As local beef and pork prices rose due to decrease in supply, the price gap between local beef and pork and imported meats led customers to choose the imported. We need to recover price competitiveness of local meats as well as to promote campaign to reduce public concerns on FMD,” said an analysis at the research company.
The South Korean government lowered the alert level for FMD on March 24 as not a single outbreak was reported since Feb. 26. The FMD epidemic resulted in the culling of more than 34 million cows and pigs, causing about 3 trillion won ($2.6 billion) in losses, local news reports said.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)