December 28, 2020 12:58
Korea's exports of kimchi to Japan increased this year after slowing down since 2018 due to soured bilateral relations.
The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation said kimchi exports from January to November rose 25 percent on-year to 18,398 tons. In money terms they grew 27.5 percent to US$64.94 million.
Last year they declined 2.4 percent from 2018 to 15,949 tons and 1.6 percent in money terms to $55.18 million.
The primary reason for the increase is a growing awareness of the fermented dish's ability to boost the immune system, which has received much attention during the pandemic.
In a survey by the Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union, 76.2 percent of respondents said they have become more aware of nutrition since the pandemic started. Some 61 percent said they eat fermented foods to stay healthy.
Jang Seo-kyung at the Japan office of AgroTrade said, "Since the pandemic started, kimchi is being viewed by many Japanese consumers as a health food, and most Japanese stores sell it."
The popularity of Korean TV dramas such as "Crash Landing on You" and "Itaewon Class" in Japan also contributed to the growing interest in kimchi and Korean food in general.
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