Seoul, Jan 18 : The South Korean instant meals market jumped more than 145 per cent in 2020 from four years earlier on the increased number of convenience stores and the coronavirus pandemic, data showed on Tuesday.
Shipments of ready-to-eat items, known as home meal replacement (HMR) products in South Korea, came to 2.01 trillion won ($1.7 billion) in 2020, up a whopping 145.3 per cent from 2016, according to the data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.
The 2020 tally was also up 18.7 per cent from the previous year, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Ministry and the corporation attributed the HMR market's exponential growth to more convenience stores, the Covid-19 pandemic and the greater use of air fryers among local households.
In particular, the prolonged coronavirus pandemic has resulted in greater demand for ready-to-eat products in Asia's fourth-largest economy, they added.
The data also showed exports of HMR items spiking 323.1 per cent to $34.93 million over the cited period.
The 2020 figure was up 35.1 per cent from a year earlier.
The surge was attributed to greater overseas exposure of South Korea's food culture via online images and the popularity of made-for-television "mukbang", a Korean term which refers to an online broadcast featuring its host binging on any type of food.
Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)