Imports of frozen fruits hit new record in 2023 on higher fresh produce prices

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s imports of frozen fruit products hit a new record in 2023, data showed Sunday, amid the growing burden on consumers to purchase fresh goods due to lingering inflation.

The country’s imports of frozen fruit products came to 64,000 tons in 2023, up 6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Rural Economic Institute.

“As the price of domestically produced fruits rose at a wide margin due to the falling supply, the demand for relatively affordable frozen fruits rose, leading to a higher amount of imports,” the institute said in a report.

In 2023, prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products climbed 3.1 percent on-year. Of major items, prices of apples and tangerines spiked 24.2 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively.

In a survey conducted by the institute in December involving 500 local consumers, 38 percent responded that they had purchased frozen fruit products as they were easier to preserve.

Another 22 percent of the respondents mentioned the price competitiveness of frozen products compared to fresh goods.

The survey further revealed that frozen blueberries were the preferred choice for 30 percent of the respondents, followed by mangoes at 22 percent.

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