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Convenience Brings New Opportunities for Chilled U.S. Pork in Seoul

Gaining Market Share — Korea’s imports of U.S. chilled pork totaled 5,377 mt from Jan.-July 2021, up 176% from a year ago, with the U.S. capturing 37% of Korea’s chilled import market – up from 19% last year.

Convenience-driven consumers are reshaping how food is bought and consumed in South Korea as new e-commerce/delivery models develop to meet surging demand. “Quick commerce” is now a major player in food Chilled U.S. pork imports sales and distribution.

“Convenience is a key factor in meal-time decisions and home meal replacement markets are booming,” says Jihae Yang, USMEF Korea director. “Chilled U.S. pork does not need defrosting and is ideal for ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals delivered for in-home consumption.”

USMEF partnered recently with delivery service pioneer Baemin to promote chilled U.S. pork through its e-commerce site B-Mart, which specializes in fresh food. Utilizing motorcycles and 30 micro-fulfillment centers in the Seoul metropolitan area, B-Mart advertises that 99% of its orders are delivered within one hour. Yang adds that some platforms now promise delivery within 15-30 minutes of order placement.

With funding support from United Soybean Board and USDA’s Agricultural Trade Program, USMEF developed a promotion for chilled, single-ribbed belly and CT butt items at B-Mart. Building on a successful launch conducted earlier this year, the week-long promotion was timed for a peak consumption period and chilled belly and CT butts were featured by cut thickness. Video recipes were developed in support of the promotion.

USMEF produced video recipes in support of the promotion with B-Mart. Watch a recipe video for pork belly steak

“For the one-week promotional period, total sales of chilled U.S. pork increased 270% and B-Mart’s merchandiser told us they plan to add more chilled U.S. pork items by year-end,” reports Yang.

She added that USMEF is targeting retail e-commerce for U.S. chilled product as large retailers expand aggressively into e-commerce to meet growing demand.