Vietnam is the largest market for shrimp in Korea.

Shrimp demand in Korea is forecast to grow by an average of 8.9% per year in the period 2023–2033, opening up great opportunities for Vietnamese shrimp in Korea

The market space is still very large

According to statistics from the International Trade Center (ITC), in the first 10 months of 2023, Korea’s imports of shrimp reached 640.2 million USD, down 21.9% of total export volume over the same period in 2022. Economic difficulties and high inflation caused Korea’s demand for imported shrimp in 2023 to decrease sharply compared to the same period in 2022.

Vietnam is the largest market supplyer of shrimp to Korea in the first 10 months of 2023, reaching 295.38 million USD, down 20% of total export volume over the same period in 2022.

Although exports of shrimp to Korea have decreased, Vietnam still maintains its position as the largest supplier of shrimp in Korea, with a proportion of 46.1% in the first 10 months of 2023, an increase compared to 45% in the first 10 months of 2022.

Notably, Korea is increasing import of shrimp from India; imports from India in the first 10 months of 2023 increased by 41.6% of proportion compared to the same period in 2022. The proportion of shrimp imports from India into Korea increases from 2.2% in 10 months of 2022 to 4.0% in 10 months of 2023.

Regarding imported shrimp types, in the first 10 months of 2023, Korea reduced imports of most shrimp types, except for imports of dried, salted, smoked, and brine shrimp (HS code 030695), which increased slightly, and imports of processed freshwater shrimp (HS code160529) increased sharply. However, the import proportion of these two types of shrimp is low.

According to a report by Future Market Insights, Inc., shrimp demand in Korea is predicted to grow by an average of 8.9% per year in the period 2023–2023. Accordingly, shrimp sales in this country are forecast to increase significantly, from an expected level of 2.75 billion USD in 2023 to about 6.45 billion USD in 2033.

Demand for shrimp in Korea is increasing due to the increasing variety of dishes made from shrimp, and consumers are increasingly interested in healthy and protein-rich diets.

The increasing adoption of Western diets has led to the incorporation of many different dishes into the daily meals of Koreans. Among, shrimp and shrimp recipes are highly appreciated due to their diverse flavors. Shrimp is considered a healthy source of protein due to its relatively low-fat content and high protein content.

Shrimp also contains essential nutrients such as selenium and vitamin B12. Korea is facing obesity among young people. In such a context, shrimp dishes will likely continue to attract the attention of Korean consumers in the coming years.

Shrimp consumption trends in Korea

People who prioritize health and wellness are the main shrimp consumers in Korea. This includes the younger generation, which is often more open to trying international dishes, including shrimp.

Korea attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. This has brought many international dishes, including shrimp, to the menus of famous restaurants and street food stalls.

Due to its relatively high price, shrimp is often chosen as a celebratory dish or on special occasions. Shrimp can be used in meals during holidays, Tet, and family gatherings.

Shrimp is also considered a very healthy dietary option for children of tender age. Shrimp is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium, making it a healthy food for children.

Farmed white-legged shrimp is popular in Korea, accounting for about 9% of shrimp consumption. The demand for whiteleg shrimp accounts for a high proportion due to its more affordable price than wild-caught shrimp. Supplies of farmed white shrimp can be supplied year-round, which is essential to meet demand in a seafood-loving country.

Whiteleg shrimp are also commonly available in a variety of product formats, including fresh, frozen, and value-added processed products. This variety in availability makes it convenient for consumers to choose based on their preferences and cooking methods.

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Korea, the Korean market currently has a trend of simple foods replacing family meals with instant, easy-to-cook, and easy-to-eat products that are growing rapidly in Korea, especially in Korea. 5 years ago. Along with that is the rise of products that are good for health and increase resistance, such as organic products and food for the elderly.

Besides, there is the trend of consuming meat substitute products, protecting the environment with packaging that limits the use of plastic materials, and the ESG management model (environment, society, corporate governance). And regulations on food hygiene and safety, regulations, and quarantine procedures.

For export products to be consumed well in Korea, the products not only need quality and flavor but also need supporting factors such as stability in production, safety in processing and circulation, and credibility in commitment. Having these factors will make it easier for businesses to negotiate and keep long-term partners.

Therefore, localities, associations, and businesses need to spend time researching and analyzing the Korean market to determine which consumer segments the products are aimed at and which products need to meet technical and special standards, especially pesticide residue (PLS system) in the Korean market.


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