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Butter, cheese sales soar on popularity of high-fat, low-carb diet

By 박한나
  • Published : Oct 16, 2016 - 17:05
  • Updated : Oct 17, 2016 - 07:43
[THE INVESTOR] A steep rise in sales of high fat dairy products including butter and cheese seems to be related to the growing popularity of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, industry officials said Sunday, citing recent data.

Sales of high-fat products such as butter, cheese and pork belly have sharply grown since mid-September, according to E-mart, a supermarket chain of retail giant Shinsegae Group.

caption: Dairy products are displayed at an E-mart store in Seoul. E-mart


Butter was the most popular item, with a 41.4 percent jump in sales compared to the same period last year, followed by cheese and pork belly, which saw sales increase by 10.3 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.

“All three items’ sales rates were on (a) minus level this year, until the new diet trend hit the nation last month,” said an E-mart official.

High-fat, low-carb diets became popular after a TV documentary “Fat Under Unfavorable Name” was aired by Munhwa Broadcasting System on Sept. 19 and 26. It featured people who lost up to 90 kilograms through a diet of plenty of cheese, butter and meat, but little to no carbs. It also claimed that “quality” fat is helpful for weight loss, unlike conventional belief.

Retailers are trying to meet growing demand for high-fat products.

Within the past two weeks, Lotte Food received orders to make 220 tons of processed butter, exceeding the firm’s average monthly production of 150 tons. The firm accounts for 80 percent of the domestic processed butter market, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Meanwhile, rice sales recently plunged to reach its lowest monthly level of minus 37 percent, according to E-mart. Rice sales have been in a slump for years, due to the growing popularity of the Western diet.

By Song Ji-won/The Korea Herald (jiwon.song@heraldcorp.com)