The sales of winter snacks, such as bungeo-ppang and roasted sweet potatoes, are heavily affected by soaring inflation. As people spend less money on snacks due to the economic downturn, the sales of such snacks are not enjoying the usual high demand in winter. Soaring inflation also led to higher ingredient prices, which left people more hesitant to purchase them.
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. on Sunday, the wholesale price of 10 kilograms of chestnut sweet potatoes is 30,600 won as of Friday, 10.1 percent lower than the average year’s price of 34,061 won. This is the result of consumers spending less money on nonessential snacks. “Major production sites, such as South Chungcheong Province and South Jeolla Province, were affected by drought in spring and heavy rain in summer,” said a source in the distribution industry. “There is less sweet potato growing area than the previous year. Consumer demand decreased by a larger degree due to restricted consumption.”
Bungeo-ppang, a popular winter snack shaped like fish stuffed with sweetened red bean paste, has become quite more expensive than before. According to Korea Price Information’s survey of over 180 street vendors in 30 cities across the country, the average price of the pastry is 1,000 won for two pieces. Five years ago, they were 1,000 won for three or four pieces. The price increase results from the average price increase of 49.2 percent for five key ingredients. Eight hundred grams of imported red beans now cost 6,000 won, which is double the price of 3,000 won five years ago, and the prices of flour, cooking oil, LPG, and sugar also increased by 47 percent, 33 percent, 27 percent, and 21 percent, respectively.