Some snacks, drinks get pricier

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Some snacks, drinks get pricier

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Don’t be surprised if you visit the supermarket and find that your favorite snacks and drinks cost more.

Local confectionery and beverage companies are announcing hikes in the prices of some of their major products, citing increased distribution and sales management costs.

Nongshim, the country’s leading processed food manufacturer, said yesterday that the price of major items including Saewookkang, the airy shrimp-flavored crackers, and two types of microwave rice will increase by an average of 7.5 percent starting today.

With the increase, a 90-gram bag of Saewookkang will cost 1,100 won ($1.01), up 10 percent from 1,000 won while a 90-gram bag of jagalchi (fish-flavored crackers) and an 84-gram pack of onion rings will cost 1,300 won, up 8.3 percent from their previous prices.

The manufacturer said the price of the two different types of microwave rice will increase by an average of 9.9 percent.

Through the decades, economists, housewives, alcohol drinkers and students have all paid attention to the price of Saewookkang, which is referred to as Korea’s “national snack.” Saewookkang was first introduced in 1971, and the price back then was 50 won. The last time Nongshim increased the price of this snack was in August 2011, from 900 won to 1,000 won.

“So far, to actively cooperate with the government’s price-control policy, we refrained from making price hikes,” said an official from Nongshim. “But with growing distribution and sales management costs, it was inevitable for us to decide on the hikes. We left the prices of some products unchanged, which means that the overall increase in the sales price hike will be in the 1 percent range - very low.”

Nongshim, which is also a leading instant noodle maker, said that it has no plans at this time to increase the price of its noodles.

The price hikes announced by Nongshim came a day after Lotte Chilsung Beverage, an affiliate of Lotte Group and the country’s largest beverage company, increased the price of 14 products, including Chilsung Cider, by an average of 6.5 percent.

“Of the 30 different products that we manufacture, we inevitably had to increase the price of 14 of them to resolve the burden from sales management costs with changes in the retail environment, including a rise in labor and distribution costs,” said an official from Lotte Chilsung.

Coca-Cola also increased the price of its drinks by an average of 6.5 percent on Jan. 1.


BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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