Poultry industry aims to feed off Olympic fever

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Poultry industry aims to feed off Olympic fever

The domestic poultry industry is hoping for a hot summer and more medal winners from Korea’s Olympic team at the London Games, which kick off on July 27, in order to boost sales.

Experience shows that Koreans consume more fried chicken during major sporting events, especially if they produce local medal winners, and more samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup noted for its healthy properties, when the mercury rises.

As was the case during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 FIFA World Cup, the industry is expecting another two-week windfall starting this month when Korea’s archers, shooters and especially star swimmer and gold-medal hopeful Park Tae-hwan compete in the British capital.

In anticipation of this, the number of chicken raised last month stood at 97.76 billion, an increase of 28.36 billion or 40.9 percent from the previous quarter, according to a survey by the Bureau of Statistics on cattle trends.

This was much greater than the 5.7 percent increase in the number of cattle bred for sale, or the 6.6 percent rise in the number of pigs.

July also marks the start of a hot spell in Korea during which time many people turn to samgyetang to help beat the heat.

“It may depend on other factors, but the Olympics are expected to have a favorable effect on the industry, and I expect chicken consumption to increase compared to last year,” said Lee Nam-Hee of the Korean Poultry Association.

Despite the expected jump in demand, chicken prices may not rise due to the increasing amount of imported chicken.

By Han Ae-ran [ebusiness@joongang.co.kr]

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