Cola, sugar prices shoot up 10%

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Cola, sugar prices shoot up 10%

Processed food prices rose in January, with soybean paste, sugar and cola all jumping up around 10 percent compared to a year earlier.

The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) said Monday that 18 of 26 major processed foods measured both in 2018 and 2019 cost more in January than the previous year.

The highest price hikes on year included sugar at 11 percent, soybean paste at 9.8 percent and cola at 9.7 percent. Among processed grain foods, instant rice products rose the most, by 5.6 percent. Prices for cup ramyeon noodles, one of the country’s favorite snacks, rose 3.4 percent.

The KCA releases prices for a basket of around 30 major processed food categories every month. The basket price data serves as a separate indicator of real price changes for consumers. Other tracked products include beer, coffee mix and curry.

Compared to the previous month, the average basket price for January rose 0.2 percent to 122,686 won ($109) from 122,491 won. Soybean paste prices rose on month by 4.7 percent and curry by 1.4 percent. Average cola prices rose 6.0 percent from December. The soft drink’s price rose last month after two months of declines.

The KCA reported that the basket’s price was most affordable from large retail stores compared to traditional markets, department stores and large-size supermarkets.

Meanwhile, products that declined in price on year included cooking oil at minus 6.1 percent, orange juice at minus 5.3 percent and red pepper paste at minus 4.9 percent.

The data comes as consumer prices for January rose by 0.8 percent from 2018, according to Statistics Korea. The consumer price index for “living necessity food” rose 2.6 percent last month from the previous year.


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

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