Seoul, Jan 23 : South Korean exports of red pepper paste soared nearly 63 per cent in the past four years thanks to the global popularity of Korean pop (K-pop) culture, data revelaed on Sunday.
Overseas shipments of red pepper paste, called "gochujang" in Korean, came to $50.93 million in 2020, up 62.6 per cent compared with 2016 and 35.2 per cent from 2019, according to the data from Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp and the Agriculture Ministry.
Exports of red pepper paste seem to have soared in recent years as more foreigners became interested in Korean food after watching K-pop stars, such as BTS, as well as increasing exposure to Korean culture on over-the-top services, Yonhap News Agency quoted the state company as saying.
Experts said the Korean Wave generated by K-pop and TV dramas could turn fans in foreign countries into active consumers of South Korean products.
The US was the top export market with a share of 26.4 per cent, followed by China with 17.3 per cent and Japan with 10.3 per cent.
Exports to the Philippines and Canada accounted for 6 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.
Outbound shipments of soybean paste "doenjang" also jumped to $11.72 million in 2020, up 44.8 per cent from 2016, the data showed.