The Korea Herald


Demand jumps for fresh food on e-commerce platforms

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : Oct. 1, 2020 - 16:00

    • Link copied

(Orga Whole Foods) (Orga Whole Foods)
More major e-commerce platforms are offering new services for grocery shoppers as demand for fresh food in online shopping continues to rise amid the ongoing pandemic, according to industry sources.

In September, WeMakePrice announced it would start offering a full refund to shoppers who are dissatisfied with the quality of perishable goods sold on its website.

The return rate was nearly zero percent during the trial period of the quality assurance service, one official at the company explained, as the company vowed to continue efforts to offer fresh groceries.

Coupang also recently launched “Fine Table” -- a selection of some 200 premium food products, ranging from premium beef to fruit, seafood and pastries from better-known bakeries, available to members of its subscription-based fast delivery service Rocket Wow.

Moves to offer new grocery shopping services come as online shopping has jumped in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as more shoppers have been taking to the internet out of health concerns.

According to recent data from eBay Korea, sales of fresh groceries rose 19 percent between Sept. 14 and 23 compared to the same time last year, while sales of overall staple goods rose 17 percent.

The company says the data reflects multiple factors that are affected by one another.

“This year’s Chuseok is looking different as a result of COVID-19, which saw contactless shopping become more popular and fewer people plan to visit their parents during the holiday season,” head of sales Kim Tae-soo said.

Orga Whole Foods, a grocery e-commerce platform owned by food company Pulmuone, decided to make a drastic change to its supply chain to allow for next-day delivery of fresh groceries.

Finding a grocery producer to get on board with its new service was a challenge at first, according to one official, which meant that staff had to keep looking until they had found the right business partners.

To deliver fresh free-range eggs as well as non-antibiotic shrimp, the company had to cut out the middle man. The shrimp is caught and delivered on ice from an island off the coast of South Jeolla Province within a single day

“We were able to build a delivery process that skips a store or a warehouse and directly delivers the products from where they are made to customers,” the official at Orga Whole Foods said.

“Instead of putting an expiration date, we put a production date on the label for these products,” he added.

By Yim Hyun-su (