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Koreans consume more coffee than kimchi, rice

Koreans consumed coffee more often than locally produced white rice and the traditional side dish kimchi in 2013, according to a joint study by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the state-run Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp. on Friday.

People drank coffee 12.2 times on average per week, while eating kimchi 11.9 times and Korean white rice 6.9 times a week.

That is, the average Korean drank coffee twice a day, but ate locally grown white rice only about once a day, the report noted.

Meanwhile, people consumed sugar an average of 9.7 times a week, and multigrain rice 9.6 times.

Thanks to the rising popularity of coffee here, the national production of the beverage jumped 63 percent to 650,000 tons in 2013 from 250,000 tons five years ago.

Instant coffee mix accounted for about 40 percent of the total consumption.

In 2013, the country exported coffee products worth some $83.5 million ― 4.5 times the value of its coffee imports.

Korea exported about 50 percent of its coffee to China, Japan and Russia.

Between 2009 and 2013, Korea’s coffee exports to Japan soared 28-fold to $20.7 million from $740,000 amid growing demand for its coffee mixes.

By Chung Joo-won (