South Korea Imports Record Amounts of Kimchi from China Due to Rising Inflation

The South Korean Customs Service announced on January 25th that the country has imported a record amount of kimchi from China due to rising inflation in the domestic market.

According to the Customs Service, the total value of kimchi imports was $169.4 million in 2022, a 20% increase from the previous year. In terms of quantity, South Korea imported a total of 263,434 tonnes of kimchi in 2022, a 9.5% increase from 2021, but still lower than the 281,187 tonnes imported in 2020.

China has emerged as the main supplier of kimchi to South Korea as the cost of producing the dish in China is significantly cheaper than in South Korea. The price of kimchi in China is around 1/5 of that of the kimchi produced in South Korea.

Koreans consume kimchi widely, both as a side dish and as an ingredient in various types of food such as kimchi soup. However, rising prices for cabbage and other ingredients, such as chili peppers, have forced restaurants to import more kimchi to keep their prices competitive.

Inflation in South Korea remained steady at 5% in December, more than double the target of the Bank of Korea (BOK). However, inflation is expected to slow to 3.6% this year due to falling energy prices.

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