Hyundai Rice House offers higher price rice

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Hyundai Rice House offers higher price rice

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A “rice sommelier” teaches a customer about the characteristics of each rice variety at the “Hyundai Rice House” at the Pangyo branch of the Hyundai Department Store in Gyeonggi. [HYUNDAI DEPARTMENT STORE]

Hyundai Department Store is hoping to cash in on Korea’s growing preference for premium rice with Hyundai Rice House, its new chain rice stores.

Hyundai Rice House, which opened inside four existing Hyundai Department Stores on Wednesday, offers around 20 different types of high-quality rice unfamiliar to the average rice eater, such as Youngho Jinmi and Golden Queen No. 3.

Despite changing tastes in Korea that are seeing a growing preference for Western food and an overall decrease in demand for rice, premium rice is growing in popularity.

Hyundai Department Store reported a 3.1 percent decrease in its rice sales growth figures through November this year compared to the previous year, but sales of premium rice such as Koshihikari and Hitomebore have increased by 15.7 percent over the same period.

Hyundai is pulling out all the stops to satisfy Korea’s budding rice connoisseurs, and the new stores will also sell bags of rice that contain different varieties mixed together in combinations chosen by a “rice sommelier.”

The expert, accredited by the Corporation of Rice-Cooking of Japan, will also visit stores once every month to conduct “rice taste consulting” for customers to help them find rice that best suits their tastes and nutritional needs.

The department store is also going to stock more small bags of rice to address the increase in one or two-person households in the country.

Hyundai will continue to increase its rice lineup next year by introducing other Korean regional specialties produced only in small quantities.

“[We] planned Hyundai Rice House to target customers who want to eat well even for one meal as the convenience food market continues to expand with the increase of one and two-person households,” said a Hyundai Department Store official.

Customers will have to shell out more cash for the pricey rice as the average cost is 15 to 25 percent higher than the existing rice sold at the department store.

The specialty store is located at Hyundai Department Store’s branches in Mok-dong, western Seoul; Pangyo, Gyeonggi; Ulsan and Busan.


BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]

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