Sales of ice cream products in South Korea fell sharply over the past years, industry data showed Sunday, apparently as a rising number of consumers opted for other desserts, including coffee.
According to the data compiled by Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp., the South Korean market for ice cream was estimated at 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) in 2016, down 39.2 percent from 1.9 trillion won posted in 2012.
Industry watchers said the decline came as more consumers are choosing alternate products, such as iced coffee.
South Korea's major convenience store chain CU said the sales of ice cream edged up 10.8 percent on-year this month through Thursday, while that of iced coffee shot up 24 percent.
Sales of sports drinks, soda and mineral water also advanced 25 percent, 21.4 percent and 23 percent, respectively, CU said.
"The number of children, major consumers of ice cream, is falling. There are also many substitutes, including coffee, leading to the decrease in the size of the market," an industry insider said. "The market is unlikely to rebound down the road." (Yonhap)