Politics & Law

South Korea Becomes Second Country to Embrace National Plan for Plant-Based Foods

Just ten days after the Danish government unveiled its national action plan for plant-based foods, South Korea emerges as the second country to actively participate in transforming the food system.

Yesterday, South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs unveiled a comprehensive plan to boost the plant-based food industry and encourage the adoption of alternatives to animal proteins. 

“We project the global plant-based food market to grow up to 35 trillion won in the next ten years”

As reported by The Korea Bizwire, South Korea’s plan includes a research center for alternative proteins, measures to promote the use of domestic agricultural products in plant-based foods, and support for exporting alternative products. 

In other food production initiatives, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety included official guidance for alt proteins, including cultivated meat, for the first time in its National Plan 2022. The plant-based foods plan is expected to launch this December.  

dongwon's plant-based canned tuna
© Dongwon F&B

A global megatrend

South Korea is among the countries leading the alt protein revolution. The industry has experienced significant growth in the last years, driven by the plant-based category.

Figures from the Korea Institute of Rural Economics show that the country’s plant-based market is expected to reach 280 billion won by 2026, while the global market is projected to reach $17.8 billion by 2025.

As younger generations’ concerns for animal welfare and sustainability gain a foothold, the demand continues to grow. According to the Vegan Society, 250 South Korean brands have now collectively registered almost 3000 products with the Vegan Society Trademark.

© Starbucks Korea

However, the success of the industry can be seen in homegrown brands such as the unstoppable UNLIMEAT, Nongshim’s plant-based meat brand Veggie Garden, Devotion Foods, Shinsegae Foods’ Better Meat, and Dongwon F&B’s new vegan food line My Plant. For instance, the food company CJ Cheiljedang, which offers plant-based dumplings under Bibigo, says it recorded $8.2 billion in sales last year. 

Looking at food service, this year, South Korea’s biggest fast-food burger chain, LOTTERIA, launched a new version of its plant-based burger Ria Miracle Burger, across its 1,300 locations in the country. Additionally, Korean Air introduced a new range of vegan inflight meals across all international routes departing from Korea. Starbucks Korea has also witnessed a surge in demand. The company sold over 100,000 newly introduced plant-based dishes in just two weeks in July.

“Plant-based is becoming a global megatrend. We project the global plant-based food market to grow up to 35 trillion won in the next ten years,” said Jung Hyun-hak, head of CJ CheilJedang’s plant-based food business, in a press conference.

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