More Koreans Spurn Rice But Embrace Coffee

Rice consumption is on the decline while coffee is getting more popular, statistics show. According to the Nonghyup Economic Research Institute on Monday, the coffee market in Korea more than doubled over the past four years, while annual per capita rice consumption declined by about six kg over the same period.

Coffee imports rose from 107,000 tons in 2008 to 115,000 tons last year, which translates into 293 cups of coffee per adult a year. The coffee market more than doubled from W1.91 trillion in 2008 to W4.13 trillion in 2012 (US$1=W1,082). By contrast, annual rice consumption per person fell around 6 kg to 69.8 kg.

A bowl of rice fetches only 20.6-45.7 percent of the price of a cup of coffee. According to the report, as of 2012, a 100g bowl of rice was sold for W1,000-W1,500 in restaurants, while a cup of "Americano" or ordinary drip coffee cost W3,500-4,000.

But coffee consumption continues to increase. Koreans over 12 ate rice 19.2 times per week in 2008, but that fell to 17.2 times in 2011. By contrast, the weekly frequency of coffee consumption rose from 7.9 times to 8.6 times over the same period.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 17, 2013 13:13 KST