South Korea frozen food market was estimated to be worth USD 1,313.0 million in the year 2016. The market for frozen food products is growing fast in South Korea owing to new social trend in which people are choosing to live and eat alone. Microwavable dishes are perceived as handy for students living alone or working mothers. Convenience and attractive price range are among the key drivers for the growth of frozen food products in South Korea.
South Korea frozen food market revenue, by type, 2014 - 2024 (USD Million)
Top five frozen processed food categories that Korean household spent on includes fresh and processed meat, fresh and processed fruits, fresh and processed vegetables, and confectionery. In the year 2016, about 80% of the imported chicken meat was frozen chicken legs.
South Korea is expected to have one of the lowest obesity rates in the world. However, one-fourth of the population is classified as obese and the numbers are expected to rise. Due to this fact, the demand for healthy products has seen an upsurge and leading manufacturers are investing in new product launches in this area.
Korean peoples believe that “health and medicine come from the same product” which is anticipated to drive the demand for healthy and fresh products. Processed foods with natural ingredients and low preservatives are doing well in the market as they are perceived to be fresher than chilled and dehydrated processed food. Local people are also willing to pay a premium for the processed foods made from ethical farming.
Segmentation by Type
• Frozen ready meals
• Frozen pizza
• Frozen fish/seafood
• Frozen meat
• Frozen potato products
• Frozen bakery products
Frozen meat dominated the market in the year 2016 with a maximum revenue share of around one-third of the market in 2016 followed by seafood and ready meals. Commonly found recipe’s such as potatoes, ribs, spines and chicken are further anticipated to boost the sale of this products over the foreseeable future. Growing acceptance of frozen processed food by chefs across various restaurants and cuisines in South Korea is further driving the demand for frozen products such as ready meals, meat & poultry, seafood, Gourmet, pizza, sorbets, and pastry and confectionery.
Segmentation by Distribution Channel
In terms of offline distribution channel, grocery supermarkets dominates the retail channel of this industry in South Korea. Offline channel leads the retail market with a major share of the frozen food market share in the year 2016. In terms of growth, online retail channel is projected to show increasing growth over the coming years owing to increased consumer demand for convenience. On the other hand, hypermarkets and supermarkets which are the leading offline distribution channel, are anticipated to remain the dominant format in the offline channel. Besides hypermarkets and supermarkets, specialty stores have a considerable presence in the market, with consumers preferring these formats as they carry a significant array of frozen food SKUs.
Manufacturers are expected to focus on innovation of quick and healthy frozen snacks that can be enjoyed depending on different occasion. Convenience along with traditional appeal is the new trend when it comes to product innovation. Formal mealtimes which used to take minutes to cook and eat are considered to be past times. Millennials nowadays often consider eating impulsively rather than eating traditional meals hence the frozen food market in South Korea is at improvising stage with presence of regional and national players which includes Dongwon F&B, Nestle and Hansung Enterprise Co., Ltd.
Research Support Specialist, USA