Gourmands and global businesses alike gathered at
Seoul Food 2017 in a four-day event
packed with food tasting exhibitions,
business meetings and cooking contests
It was an exciting week for culinary
connoisseurs, as Seoul Food 2017
kicked off from May 16 to 19 in the
city of Goyang, Gyeonggi-do. Seoul
Food is Korea’s largest international food
industry exhibition and the fourth-largest
of its kind in Asia. The four-day event
celebrated its 35th anniversary, satisfying
the palate of over 50,000 participants
from around the world. The large turnout
was testament to the growing popularity
of Asian and Korean cuisine.
According to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the global food industry is growing annually by 2 percent, and is expected to reach USD 7.3 trillion in 2019, a significant increase from USD 6.3 trillion in 2016. And behind this rapid growth lies the Korean food market. Korean food exports have increased rapidly since 2006 at an annual average rate of 10 percent to about USD 4.1 billion in 2015.
In a bid to help Korean food companies enter the global market and further boost demand, Seoul Food 2017 provided an opportunity for 660 overseas buyers and 740 promising Korean companies to establish close network through its oneon- one business meetings, showcases and seminars. Visitors had the chance to witness the latest technological developments in the food industry,
as well as taste
some of the hottest food products in Korea.
New to this year’s event was the Global Food Trend & Tech Conference, which offered participants in-depth analyses and market strategies. Most notably, the conference took a closer look at food innovation and the impact of early start ups on the food industry, the future of the industry and recent market trends in Asia. “The convergence of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology has given birth to a wide range of functional foods, and the surging single-person households have caused rapid changes in the food market,” said KOTRA’s CEO and President Jae Hong Kim during his opening remarks. “All of these factors are transforming the food industry into high value-added one.”
The Startup Assistance Seminar was of particular interest to SMEs, with some of Korea’s most successful startups in the food industry presenting on their experience. One of the presenters was Sophie Kim, founder and CEO of Market Kurly, a website that delivers high-quality and eco-friendly ingredients to consumers. Since its launch in 2015, the company’s has recorded KRW 3 billion (USD 2.7 million) in sales every month. The key to Market Kurly’s success isn’t just its fresh and organic products or fast delivery service, but also the company’s ability to take full advantage of mobile technology, big data and social media. “About 80 percent of our customers place their order through their cellphones and we’re also utilizing
big data to predict the purchasing patterns
of our customers, said Kim
Turnout was also high at the Seoul Food Awards, held on the sidelines of Seoul Food 2017. Five food items were selected each in the three categories of ‘Healing’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Dessert’. Award winners were granted diverse benefits, including certificates, public relation support, on-site special exhibitions and exclusive meetings with buyers. Equally
popular was the Seoul Food Culinary
Challenge, a cooking contest where
renowned chefs and students and graduates
from culinary schools competed
“We prepared a variety of programs that are more diverse than ever so that more Korean food companies can make inroads into the global market,” said Kim Doo-young, executive vice president for Strategic Marketing at KOTRA. He also
expressed his future hopes for greater participation and increased exports of Korean food suppliers.
On the occasion of Seoul Food 2017, KOTRA Express sat down
with one foreign buyer, Mr. Paul J Kim, Director of International
Operation & Strategic Sourcing at Purity Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
Here’s what he had to say about the event.