SEOUL: South Korea's exports of non-alcoholic beverages have reached an all-time high in the first nine months of 2023, boosted by the increasing global popularity of Korean food and culture.
According to Yonhap News Agency, excluding alcoholic drinks and mineral water, totaled US$529 million from January to September, marking a 6.3 percent increase from the same period last year. This is the highest level ever recorded for a nine-month period.
The country achieved record global sales of its beverages last year, amounting to $630 million, and officials expect 2023 to surpass this figure. In terms of volume, exports increased by 1.3 percent year-on-year to 425,000 tons, also setting a new record.
The agency attributed this growth to a surge in demand for traditional Korean beverages like rice drinks and persimmon punch. Non-alcoholic beer also experienced a 23.4 percent increase in sales during the mentioned period.
By country, exports to China led the way, jumping 31.5 percent on a yearly basis to $151 million and making up 28.5 percent of total exports. The United States followed as the second-largest market, with exports worth $70 million, while Vietnam was third at $48 million.
South Korean beverages have been sold in 142 countries this year, according to the customs agency. Concurrently, imports of beverages into South Korea also rose by 5.2 percent on-year to $108 million, resulting in a record trade surplus of $421 million for the country during the first nine months of 2023.