Kotra identifies trends for nation’s exporters

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Kotra identifies trends for nation’s exporters

Consumers visiting restaurants around the world are coming to expect more of an experience from their meals, and the trend could be one of many new niche business models for Korean exporters and entrepreneurs, said the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra).

Dutch food designer Chloe Rutzerveld introduced a project earlier this year called Edible Growth to meet such demand.

In her project, 3-D printers - which are now widely used to do everything from manufacturing machinery parts to customizing artificial teeth - actually print out food.

The printers create hollow, honeycombed chips filled with different seeds and yeast. About five days after printing, the seeds grow into actual vegetables or mushrooms, and the whole thing can be eaten.

“Some people still are skeptical about creating food out of a machine, but the 3-D food printing technologies are actually considered a way to boost transparency and reliability about ingredients’ quality,” wrote Yim Seong-ah, an employee at the Kotra Amsterdam office. “It will be a future solution for turning healthy but exotic ingredients like insects, which are more nutritionally balanced than many foods, into attractive dishes.

The project was one of the 12 latest consumer trends overseas, which Kotra announced Monday as part of the state-run export agency’s new book, “12 Global Trends that Korea Should Get Excited in 2016.”

Kotra employees working at 33 overseas branches, ranging from Amsterdam and London to New York City and Nairobi, picked the 12 most representative consumption and marketing trends overseas, and analyzed how Korean exporters and those who want to establish a business overseas can use them to create opportunities.

The other major trends included “upcycling,” in which useful products are created from waste or pollutants; people succeeding in the market after breaking conventional rules; the “on-demand” theory, which says the consumer demand-based economy will expand; cash-free and fully digitalized payment systems; leisure activities that create new economies; consumers opting for products and services that contribute to the public good; new niche financing methods like change-based financing; and the economic value of a liberal arts education.

BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]
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