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Prices of imported food soar over Chuseok

Driven by high demand for overseas products during the long Chuseok holiday, the import prices of certain food items soared, according to data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.

According to KCS’ data, import prices of seafood and livestock products, such as US beef, saw a significant spike compared to last year, with the prices of some food items increasing by more than 100 percent. In particular, the import prices of king crab and croaker fish more than doubled in a year, the data showed.

Korea Customs Service also said the highest food price increase ahead of the holiday was king crab at 132.4 percent, followed by croaker fish at 105.6 percent, squid at 74.6 percent and mackerel at 48.1 percent. 

Shoppers browse through products at a large retail store in Seoul ahead of Chuseok on Friday. (Yonhap)
Shoppers browse through products at a large retail store in Seoul ahead of Chuseok on Friday. (Yonhap)

The data also showed that chicken wings imported from Thailand and US beef ribs were among top-selling items, rising in price by 45.8 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively.

Days prior to the start of the holiday break, Gmarket, a major online shopping company, announced that sales of blue crab from Aug. 18 to Sept. 17 soared 1,103 percent on-year, while sales of gizzards and persimmons spiked 310 and 869 percent, respectively.

Industry data also revealed that preorders for gifts surged, reaching record high levels and helping spur domestic economic growth.

Lotte Mart reported its preorder sales of Chuseok gift sets jumped 180.3 percent on-year. Department stores including Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae also saw their gift sales soar. Lotte Department Store’s sales shot up 36.8 percent, while Hyundai and Shinsegae’s gift sales jumped 31.2 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively.

Despite the Kim Young-ran anti-graft law enacted last year that restricts business gift exchanges costing more than 50,000 won ($43), industry data showed there was still a high demand for luxury gift sets this year.

E-mart saw a 251.1 percent spike in the sales of gift sets exceeding 100,000 won compared to last year.

By Julie Jackson (
Korea Herald Youtube