Sunday 14 July 2024
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Instant coffee loses market share to brewed coffee in South Korea

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SEOUL, South Korea – A growing number of people are shifting their preference from cheap instant coffee to brewed coffee and other types of coffee products, industry data showed Wednesday, prompting coffee makers to develop high-quality products.

The instant coffee retail market was valued at 1.07 trillion won ($913 million) in 2015, down from 1.26 trillion won in 2013 and 1.14 trillion won in 2014, according to the data by the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.

In contrast, sales of brewed coffee products have steadily risen from 92.8 billion won in 2013, 111.4 billion won in 2014 and 135.1 billion won in 2015, aT said.

Instant coffee is a small packet that contains dried coffee powder, sugar and powdered cream, which has enjoyed immense popularity among Koreans for decades.

But it has been losing market shares to coffee shops that have sprung up everywhere in the nation offering freshly brewed coffee and espresso drinks.

The instant coffee also took a hit after being accused of driving people to consume too much sugar, prompting coffee makers to reduce sugar and replace dairy cream with healthier ingredients.

To catch up with the latest trend, instant coffee makers have released new products that upgraded the taste.

Dongsuh Foods Co., which has long dominated the market with a steady-seller “Maxim”, has attracted coffee drinkers with a premium instant coffee brand “Kanu.”

The so-called “smallest cafe in the world” posted 116.9 billion won in sales last year, its earnings report showed, taking up 86.6 percent of the ready-to-brew coffee market.

Namyang Dairy Products Co., a major dairy firm, has launched “Looka,” an instant stick coffee made of finely ground coffee beans, and US beverage maker Nestle released “Supremo” in the domestic market.

Franchise coffee chains have also sought ways to lure customers with premium instant coffee products that taste just as good as fresh-brewed coffee.

American coffee chain Starbucks sells “VIA” instant brewed coffee, and Tom N Toms, a local coffee house chain, offers cold-brewed liquid concentrate coffee to target the changing instant coffee market.

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