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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Marine Product Consumption Dives Steeply Due to a Shift in Household Structure, According to Studies

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — A study revealed that the annual consumption amount of marine products from households has dropped over 800 billion won (about US$786 million) in the past three years in Korea. Such result seems to be due to a plunge in demand of fishery products which require tricky preparation before their cooking, which is driven by the growing number of dual income households, and the undiminished anxiety over the radioactivity leakage into the sea from the Fukushima Tsunami back in 2011.

Some study results, including a recent report by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), “The Influence of Radioactivity Leakage  in East Japan on Domestic Consumption of Agrifood”, and the household spending survey from the National Statistics Office, shows that the amount of  maritime products consumed by Korean households totaled 6.67 trillion won,  shrunk by 817 billion won  from 7.49 trillion won in 2010.

The consumption trend continues on this year. The proportion of spending on maritime products in the total household expenditure on food in the first quarter was 10.9 percent, which was only 0.1 percent higher than  in the last year’s first quarter. The ratios have been showing downward trend in recent years, from 12.0 percent in  2010, 12.3 percent in 2011, and 11.3 percent in 2012.

The reports and analysts are holding the recent shift in household structure is responsible for such downward consumption trend. Cooking fish for meals, which requires delicate preparation process beforehand, is not a popular option for fast-increasing dual income households. As a matter of fact, the average marine product consumption  in a month took a downturn from 23,495 won in the first quarter of 2010, to 21,984 won in the first quarter of this year. On the other hand, processed marine products or salt-dried products, which are relatively more convenient to cook, have shown a rise in consumption over the same period.

The boost in the number of single households also accounts largely for the dropping consumption. According to “Statistics on Food Consumption Trend in 2013″ by the KREI, while 23.2 percent and 20.5 percent of single households answered that they “do not eat fish at home” and “eat fish occasionally at home but not more than once in a month” respectively, over 30 percent of households with two or more members answered that they “eat fish at home once every week”. Considering what the survey suggests and the fact that the proportion of single households has been swelled from 9.0 percent in 1990, to 25.9 percent  last year, the descending consumption on fish products seems to be reasonable and inevitable. 

Another survey from the institute, “The Influence of Radioactivity Leakage  in East Japan on Domestic Consumption of Agrifood”, shows that as many as 78.9 percent of the surveyed Korean consumers answered that they have reduced spending on marine products since the Fukushima disaster. The high number of the respondents – over 83 percent – answered that they have cut down on expenditures on fish in the past three months – from November of 2013 to January of 2014 – testifying to the report’s point.

By J. H. Kim (
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