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Overview of Food and Food Service Industry, Looking at with Numbers

The Rise of Single Person Households 

and Growing Asian Market!

Overview of Food and Food Service Industry,

Looking at with Numbers




The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) published ‘2017 Food Industry Statistics’ collecting and analyzing various data and statistics to show the trend and size of the food industry.

According to the statistics, the food and food service industries in Korea amounted to KRW 200 trillion in 2015. Food and drink manufacturing industry showed a 5 % growth from 2014 to be KRW 84 trillion and food service industry showed a robust 28% growth from 2014 to account for KRW 108 trillion in the market.


The Status of the Domestic Food and Food Service Industry




Korean food manufacturing industry has been growing 6.8% in average every year. This is higher than 3.6%, the average growth rate of national GDP of Korea and food service industry has been showing a remarkable 8.9% average annual growth.

The number of employees in food service industry is also rapidly growing. The number of employees exceeded 2 million, to be 2.28 million in 2015. It grew 25.6% from 2006 and accounted for 10.9% of the entire industries. The remarkable growth of food service industry was mainly driven by the rise of single person households and franchise businesses.




Looking at the industrial structure, there were 57,954 businesses in food and drink manufacturing industry where 330,000 employees or 8.2% of entire workers in manufacturing industry were employed. Looking at the manufacturing items, the number of Kimchi products was the highest at 366, followed by 266 dried laver processing products. Especially, with the growing interest in heath, the size of health function food items grew approximately 5.6 times from KRW 400 billion in 2005 to KRW 2.2 trillion in 2015.

The number of restaurants in food service industry increased to 660,000 in 2015, meaning 1 restaurant per 78 persons out of total 51.53 million populations. Looking deeper at the restaurant business, Korean food restaurants were the No.1 in terms of number at 304,005, followed by non-alcohol drink stores at 59,656, snacks & Kimbab restaurants at 43,719 and chicken restaurants at 32,600. In terms of revenue, Korean food restaurants again were the No.1 with KRW 51.1 trillion, followed by liquor stores and company cafeteria.

Functional Food Evaluation Center of the Korea National Food Cluster is providing coordinator services to secure the industry, academic and research cooperation network and develop high value added functional foods. Additionally, the center conducts various researches and analysis with more than 200 equipment and facilities for health functional food R&D. It also provides heath functional food related training and consulting to strengthen competence of companies and secure competitiveness in the functional food market. The center also provides the latest information on functional food market both home and abroad and functional food related news, including new functional ingredients.


Status of Food Service Industry Overseas




According to the market research agency, ‘Global Data’, the size of global food market grew to reach around USD 6.8 trillion in 2013 but shrank down to USD 6.3 trillion in 2015. On the other hand, the market has been steadily growing in Asia Pacific region, showing 5.9% annual average growth rate. This was mainly driven by the economic growth of China and others.

At country level, in 2015, China and US were the largest food markets with approximately USD 1.2 trillion market size, followed by Japan at USD 0.4 trillion and Germany at USD 0.3 trillion in market size. Korea was the 15th largest with USD 0.1 trillion market size.




In US, the number of businesses in food and drink manufacturing showed a steady growth from 2010 to 2013 but turned to show a mild decline in 2014. On the other hand, the number of businesses in grocery manufacturing showed a steady growth since 2010 to be 26,947 in 2014.

In the neighboring country, Japan, the number of food and drink manufacturing businesses and grocery manufacturing businesses continued to decline from 2010 to 2014.

The trend is a bit different in China. The number of food and drink manufacturers declined since 2010 but began to rebound from 2012 to become 14,479 in 2014. The number of grocery manufacturers also declined since 2010 but rebound from 2012 to become 8,207 in 2014.

The global food market is expected to grow to USD 7.3 trillion in 2019. With its location at the center of North East Asian market, Korea is in the best position to preemptively respond to growth in global food market.

Especially, Asian market, the first destination of the overseas expansion plan of the Korea National Food Cluster is showing impressive growth trend. The Korea National Food Cluster will strive hard to continue technology innovation in food and agriculture sector to expand into Asian market, centered on China and grow to become the hub of food market in North East Asia and also explore diverse sales channel to expand overseas export markets.


woman buy products with her trolley at supermarket


With evolving market environments including the rise of single person households and growing interest in health, the way people live in their daily life is also changing and food and food service industries are set to enter another round of growth. The Korea National Food Cluster will also make its utmost efforts for continuous innovation to respond to these changes.

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