Local discount chains still offering best deals on foodDiscount stores still offer better deals on processed foods like ramen and soy sauce than traditional markets, according to the Korea Consumer Agency.
The average price difference between the two cheapest retail platforms on the 12 most popular processed foods as of February was 7.6 percent.
The products, which include ketchup, flour and the hot chili paste gochujang, were cheapest at discount stores like E-Mart and Lotte Mart, followed by at traditional markets like Namdaemun and neighborhood super super markets (SSM). Department stores were the most expensive.
Traditional noodles had the most varied prices among retail venues. The same noodle product at a discount store was 2,135 won ($1.80), while at an SSM, it was 26.4 percent, or 2,699 won, more expensive.
The most price-stable produce was 1-liter (2-pint) containers of milk, which were offered at discount stores for 2,527 won, only 2.9 percent cheaper than department stores’ prices at 2,601 won.
Meanwhile, prices of fresh produce spiked in February compared to a month earlier because of the unusually cold weather. Napa cabbage, the key ingredient used to make kimchi, saw the biggest price surge at 34.1 percent. Radish prices were second, surging 32.7 percent.
During the same period, kitchen towel prices fell the most at 5.1 percent. Fruit juice was second at 4.7 percent, followed by pork at 4.1 percent.
The Korea Consumer Agency studies the prices of 135 products at 269 retail venues across the country every Wednesday for convenience stores, traditional markets and department stores, and every Thursday for discount chains and SSMs. More details can be found at www.price.go.kr.
“We urge consumers to check for prices and other discount events on the website, particularly when shopping for daily necessities,” an official at the agency said.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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