The prices of not only vegetables but also meat products are jumping due to mass deaths of livestock and poultry amid hot temperatures in the nation, coupled with rising costs due to COVID-19.
According to Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp., the average retail price of chicken meat (intermediate grade) came at 5,991 won (about 5.2 U.S. dollars) per kilograms on Friday, up 22.1 percent from a year ago (4,905 won or 4.26 dollars). The price also represents a 12.7 percent hike from last month. Pork prices are also on the rise. The price of domestically produced fresh pork belly (intermediate grade) stood at 2,514 won (2.17 dollars) per 100 grams on Friday, up 5.7 percent from the same month last year (2,378 won or 2.06 dollars).
The price hikes of pork and chicken, which are popular foodstuffs for the working class, are due mainly to the scorching heat wave. According to the Food, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, 271,949 chickens, 7,184 pigs, and 2,510 ducks were killed by the heat wave as of Friday.
The price of processed foods as well as veggies and meat are also rising en masse. After Ottogi and Nongshim increased the prices of ramen noodles, other food makers are also raising the price of their products including confectionary, and processed meat such as hams by citing hikes of raw materials and labor costs. Haitai Confectionery and Foods raised the prices of its flagship products including Homerun Ball, Matdongsan and Butter-ring cookies by 10.8 percent on average effective Sunday. CJ Cheiljedang also raised the price of some 20 processed meat products including Spam by 9.5 percent on average.
“The price of ramen noodles and confectionery products have been hiked en masse because raw materials costs increased due to problems in supply networks due to COVID-19,” said Kim Tae-gi, emeritus professor of economics at Dankook University. “Even if raw materials prices stabilize down the road, there is a slim chance the hiked prices will decline, and hence the current prices will more likely be maintained.”
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