British are eating up Korean food products

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British are eating up Korean food products

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British shoppers browse through about 150 food items at the “Taste of Korea” exhibition at a Tesco store in London recently. The third annual event continues through Nov. 17 at 49 stores and Tesco.com. Provided by the company

At the New Malden Tesco Extra store in London, the line stretched from the entrance to the Taste of Korea aisle.

Among about 150 foods available were seaweed, hot pepper paste, soju, rice wine and cold noodles.

Customers who sampled a bit of Korean food at the tasting corner with a look of curiosity gave two thumbs up.

“Among the tasting foods, bulgogi was the most popular and bibimbap also received positive responses from local people,” said a spokesman.

Big sellers among the locals were ramen, aloe juice, Icheon Rice, udon, bulgogi sauce, soy sauce and red pepper paste.

The “Taste of Korea” exhibition for the shared growth of small and large companies was sponsored by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Corporation; and Tesco, the U.K.’s largest retailer.

For two weeks through Nov. 17, 150 products from 18 domestic food manufacturers - small and midsize companies like Kukje Food, Hanil Food and Seoul Jangsu to corporations such as CJ, Lotte and Daesang - will be introduced.

The event has grown from one store in 2011 to 49 stores this year and products will be available at the world’s largest online food shopping mall, Tesco.com.

About 100 tons of Korean food was shipped to the United Kingdom for the event that is expected to post sales of £120,000 ($193,000).

Tesco reported that the demand for Korean food products at its stores shot up 140 percent last year compared to 2011, and sales at Korean restaurants in England soared 150 percent. Imports of Korean food increased 135 percent for the year ending Oct. 31.

“Earlier this year, Korea’s Jeju tangerines posted about £2 million of sales,” said Matt Clark, Tesco World Food Purchasing Director. “Although many Korean foods are very attractive and have unlimited potential for growth in overseas markets, they have not been well known among consumers.”


BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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