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Society & Global
Society & Global Section
확대축소프린트
 Park Ji-su
Wise Customers Prefer Imported Snacks to Domestic Snacks
제 149 호    발행일 : 2014.06.03 


  Don’t you think that the imported snacks are much cheaper and more tightly packed than domestic snacks these days? CBT reporter compared the differences between imported snacks and domestic snacks.
  These snacks are the same kinds of cookies. The left one is a domestic snack. Its price is 3,000 won for two boxes. The right one is an imported snack. Its price is 3,500 won for a single box. Both of them have similar prices. The gap is only 500 won. However, the imported snack weighs twice as much as the domestic snack. Can you see the differences? The weight of the domestic snack is 172g(86g for a single box) and the imported snack is 400g.
  So far, the domestic snack industry has carried out the increase in price by reducing the capacity with the justification of an increase in raw materials and labor costs. However, over the past three years, according to the Korea International Trade Association, international raw material prices have mostly been reduced, except almonds. The price of sugar dropped more than 40%. Nevertheless, the prices of related processed goods have soared.
  Currently, local snacks have the nickname of ‘nitrogen cookies’. That’s because of the actual amount of snack compared with the excessive packaging. Consumers use the term ‘nitrogen cookies’ when they find that the snacks only use up less than one-third of the excessive packaging. The domestic snack industry insisted, “We put the buffer space in order to prevent breakage of snacks”, but they already lost many consumers’ trust.
  Last year, the domestic snack industry continued to raise the price, and the price of snacks rose at most 20% depending on the item. The price of a box of Orion Choco Pie rose 20% and then soared 50% in just one year and four months. In addition, the price of Nongshim Shrimp Crackers rose 100 won from 1,000 won to 1,100 won. At that time, Orion Chambungeoppang(116g), whose price rose from 2,500 to 2,700 won was more expensive in unit price than frozen pork(100g), whose average retail price was 1,929 won.
  The sales of imported snacks are rapidly growing mainly due to students who have thin wallets because of the domestic snack company’s price increases and excessive packaging. Exchange rates have become weak, and many countries are actively signing FTAs with Korea. Therefore, imported snacks have a wider variety of snack products than domestic snacks at less than half the price. That attracts mainly young consumers’ interests to imported snacks. That’s why imported snack sales soared.
  The newly opened imported snacks specialty stores sell products from 100~200 won to 1,000~3,000 won and have two to three times more capacity than the domestic snacks. That induces consumers to buy them. According to Lotte Mart, domestic snacks’ revenues decreased for the third consecutive year, while imported snacks’ shares reached 25% from January to April this year. 5 years ago, in 2009, the shares of imported snacks were 7.5%. In the convenience store CU, in the same period, domestic snack sales increased 2.3%(compared to last year) while imported snack sales nearly doubled. As the popularity of imported snacks is growing, Lotte Mart made special corners for imported snacks in new stores.
  According to the soaring sales of imported snacks, related businesses are growing rapidly. Jeong Seong- tae, who runs an imported snack wholesale store in Seongangil, said, “Many people of all ages enjoy imported snacks and now the sales are increasing steadily because of the consumers who find imported snacks that are cheaper and greater in capacity than domestic snacks. Because of the increasing popularity recently, if you don’t move quickly, you can’t buy the products. Timtam, UTZ Cheese Ball, Nutella, Wasabi Beans(wasabi snack), and Fruit By The Foot(jelly) are the most popular snacks.”
  Lee Eun-ji(21, Chungbuk National University) said, “I have a distrust for the domestic snack companies because of their tyranny, such as ‘nitrogen cookies’ and overly expensive prices. Therefore, I prefer the imported snacks to domestic snacks because they have more reasonable prices and quantities. I will buy the imported snacks because they are economical and they have a wide variety that I can’t find in domestic snacks.” Jeung Gyeong-jin(22, Ewha Womans University) said, “I love snacks. I eat at least one snack every day. However, these days as a poor university student, I can’t afford the snacks because they are too expensive. In addition, I’m very embarrassed by the quantity of the domestic snacks. Half of the packaging is empty. It is worse than in the past. These days, I go to the imported snack store to enjoy the snacks at reasonable price. Furthermore, the imported snack stores are now very common. I can find them easily near my university.”
  What will domestic snack companies prepare as a countermeasure about the increasing preference for imported snack companies?

By Park Ji-su | js34@cbnu.ac.kr

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