In a riveting display of cultural influence and innovation, South Korea has reached new pinnacles of success in its export portfolio. In a notable upswing, the export of dried laver (gim) and cooked rice from the nation has hit record highs in the first 10 months of 2023, a testament to the escalating international demand and growing allure of Korean culture and cuisine.
Soaring Exports of Dried Laver
As per data released by the Korea Customs Service, gim exports have surged to an impressive $670 million, recording a 20.4 percent growth from the previous year. Volume-wise, the increase is equally commendable, with a 17.3 percent rise to 30,000 tons. This dried seaweed, often seasoned and roasted, is a staple Korean side dish and snack garnering considerable favor among international consumers. South Korea currently holds sway over the dried seaweed market, commanding approximately 70 percent of the global share.
The Largest Markets
Among the global consumers, the United States has emerged as the largest market for South Korean laver, trailed by Japan and China. This ascendance of South Korean laver in the international markets is a clear manifestation of the global popularity of Korean cuisine.
Record Highs in Cooked Rice Exports
Simultaneously, exports of cooked rice products, encompassing instant rice and gimbap, have surged by 29.9 percent, touching a new high of $79 million. Here too, the U.S. has been the leading destination, with Australia and China following suit. The exponential growth of these exports can be attributed to the influence of Korean cultural exports and the introduction of new products by South Korean companies.
A Global Reach
The extensive global reach of these exports is truly remarkable, with laver being sold to 120 countries and cooked rice to 87, the highest figures ever recorded for both products. This compelling success story of South Korean exports underscores the powerful influence of the nation's culture and cuisine on a global scale.