Red Ginseng Strengthens Lead in Health Food Market

      July 03, 2008 10:31

      Red ginseng is far and away the most popular health food among Koreans, statistics released by the Korea Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday reveal. The domestic health food market saw sales of W723.4 billion (US$1=W1,042) last year, and red ginseng products occupied 45.2 percent of the total with W327 billion.

      Red ginseng products were also in top place in 2006, but last year sales went up by another 32 percent. Red ginseng is known to be effective in improving blood problems, strengthening the immune system, and reducing stress and fatigue, according to the KFDA website.

      The KFDA said sales of health food supplements are determined by home shopping marketing and word of mouth, and red ginseng products have benefited from both. Excellent home shopping marketing does not guarantee success, because if consumers give the products a bad rating, the sales of that product immediately plunge. Chlorella would be one example. The sales of chlorella products, which were said to be good for the skin with their anti-oxidative effects, fell dramatically last year, down 42 percent from 2006.

      In the 2007 statistics, aloe products came second with sales of W79.7 billion, and nutrition supplements like vitamins and calcium third with W 78.5 billion. Products containing ginseng and glucosamin followed with W35 billion and W26.9 billion.

      Glucosamin is especially popular among the older generation as it is effective in treating joint diseases. Ginseng products sold more abroad than at home, with W17.5 billion worth being exported -- more than half of all exported health food supplements. A total of 10,934 tons and 56 types of health food products were made in Korea lat year.

      Information on health food supplements to help consumers choose the right product can be found on the KFDA website (

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