South Korea’s Dried Laver and Cooked Rice Exports Reach Record High

SEOUL – South Korea has seen a record surge in exports of dried laver, known as "gim" in Korean, and cooked rice products this year. The increase is attributed to strong international demand, bolstered by the global popularity of Korean culture and cuisine.

According to Yonhap News Agency, exports of gim reached a new high of US$670 million in the January-October period, marking a 20.4 percent increase from the previous year. In terms of volume, gim exports grew by 17.3 percent to 30,000 tons. Gim, often roasted with sesame oil and fine salt, is a staple side dish in Korean meals and has gained international popularity as a snack in recent years.

Gim is currently the top export item in South Korea's fisheries sector, dominating approximately 70 percent of the global dried seaweed market. The United States was the largest market for South Korean laver, accounting for 21.1 percent of total exports, followed by Japan and China.

Furthermore, exports of cooked rice products, including instant rice and gimbap, witnessed a 29.9 percent increase during the first ten months of 2023, reaching a record $79 million. The volume of exports also saw a significant rise of 28.4 percent to 25,000 tons. The majority of these exports, 79.2 percent, were to the United States, with Australia and China following.

The expansion in these exports is linked to the rising popularity of Korean cultural content and food globally. South Korean companies have responded by introducing a variety of new products, such as gimbap and gim snacks. Laver and cooked rice products have now been sold to a record 120 and 87 countries, respectively.

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