KF-AD masks are coming to a convenience store near you
The new, breathable Korea Filter Anti-Droplet (KF-AD) masks will soon be widely available at convenience stores.
The government-approved masks, designed specifically to provide higher levels of resistance to airborne liquids without the need for thick fabric, are scheduled to be distributed at CU and 7-Eleven convenience stores starting Wednesday.
KF-AD masks were launched in June. Distributed by several firms including Welkeeps, demand for the thin masks has surged in recent weeks as people look for more breathable options as the temperature rises.
KF-AD masks have 95 percent bacterial filtration efficiency, a measurement of a material’s resistance to penetration by bacteria, according to Welkeeps.
BGF Retail announced Tuesday it is distributing the KF-AD masks at 14,000 CU stores nationwide starting Wednesday. It costs 3,000 won ($2.70) for five masks, and there aren’t limits to the number of masks that can be bought at one time.
BGF Retail plans to expand the types of KF-AD masks available in the near future, including releasing ones specifically designed for kids.
Sales of disposable masks at CU in June shot up 270 percent compared to the same period a month earlier, accounting for 30 percent of masks being sold.
“Distribution channels for KF-AD masks are gradually expanding, but the supply isn’t enough to support the demand yet,” said Oh Su-jeong, a merchandiser at BGF Retail.
7-Eleven announced it is distributing the masks on the same day and with the same price tag as CU. There are also no limits to the number of masks one can buy at 7-Eleven, because it is “difficult for retailers to track the number of masks one has bought using the current system,” according to Kim Sung-chul, a spokesperson for 7-Eleven.
The convenience store franchise said it plans to distribute new types of KF-AD masks on July 3 that vary in size.
7-Eleven “will pay particular attention to ensure the stable supply of masks for consumers to purchase the products they want conveniently and economically,” said Kim Hyeon-jeong, a merchandiser at 7-Eleven.
GS Retail said it started selling KF-AD masks at some of its GS25 convenience stores on June 25. It plans to expand distribution channels as of Thursday, including the offline branches of beauty and health store Lalavla and supermarket chain GS The Fresh.
More than a million masks will be distributed every week.
The price range — from 500 won to 900 won — will vary based on the materials used, according to GS Retail.
GS Retail initially limited the number of masks you can buy to 20 due to the imbalance of demand and supply, but plans to lift the limit starting Thursday, according to Kim Ha-yan, a spokesperson for BGF Retail.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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