New leading gastronomic indicator

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New leading gastronomic indicator


The Kimchi Index, an indicator of the cost of making Korea’s signature dish, has been released by the government for the first time to provide price information for consumers, to help them make good decisions during kimchi-making season.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday that the index included prices for ingredients like Napa cabbage, garlic, parsley, red pepper and oysters, and calculated the overall cost price based on retail prices provided by the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation.

Previously, the ministry released prices for individual ingredients.

According to the index, the cost of making a year’s worth of kimchi for a family of four this month is the lowest it has been in the past four years at 195,000 won ($183).

The Kimchi Index for a family of four is based on retail prices for 13 items, including 20 heads of Napa cabbage, 10 large radishes, 1.86 kilograms (4.1 pounds) of red pepper, 1.2 kilograms of garlic, 2 kilograms of parsley and 1.2 kilograms of anchovy sauce.

In constructing the Kimchi Index, the ministry eliminates the highest and lowest prices over the past five years and uses the average of the remaining three years (213,846 won) as a 100-point baseline.

Numbers higher than 100 represent a higher-than-average kimchi cost.

According to the ministry, the Kimchi Index for November this year is 91.3, which is the lowest in four years.

This month, the cost of making kimchi for a family of four for a year is 195,214 won, down 20.1 percent from November 2012.

“Thanks to the improved weather conditions, the overall vegetable crops for kimchi went well, which contributed to the decline in prices for kimchi-making this year,” said a ministry official.

For the past five years, the Kimchi Index was the highest in October 2010 at 152.6, when the price of napa cabbage surged and the cost of making a year’s worth of kimchi for a family of four reached 326,387 won, 45 percent more than the average cost for the same month in the previous years.

Among all the ingredients for making kimchi, the cost of napa cabbage accounts for 27.6 percent, red pepper 19.4 percent, oysters 11.7 percent and radishes 7.8 percent.

Statistically, when the price of cabbage increases 1 percent, the entire cost of making a batch of kimchi rises 0.28 percent, and when the price of red pepper increases 1 percent, the entire cost goes up 0.19 percent.

The ministry plans to announce the index every month.

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