Korean grocery prices among world’s highest

A recent report from a Korean consumer protection agency reveals that the prices of imported fruit, wine, beer and Starbucks coffee in Korea are much more expensive than in other countries.

According to Consumers Korea, the domestic prices of imported grapes, wine, and domestic pork belly were among the highest levels in the world. The prices of groceries in the major cities of 13 countries were compared.

The report indicated that 800 grams of American grapes cost 7009 won in Korea, which was twice as high as the price in the U.S. (4069 won), and wine was being sold for an average of 38,875 won, which was 71 per cent higher than the price of wine in the Netherlands (22,681 won), which has the fifth-highest wine prices in the world.

The price for a kilogram of domestic pork belly (27,930 won) was almost twice as high as the comparable price in China (14,679 won), which was the second-highest among the 13 countries compared.

The cost of coffee at Starbucks (Americano tall size), domestic beef sirloin (one kilogram, steak), imported sirloin (one kilogram, steak), bananas (Philippines, one bunch), American oranges (one), American grapefruit (one), Coca Cola (1.5l), Heineken (330ml), and Miller (355ml) in Korea were the second highest among the 13 countries compared.

Of note, the price of Heineken in Korea (2016 won) was 2.9 times higher than the price in the Netherlands (729 won), and the price of Miller in Korea (2203 won) was 2.3 times higher than the price in the US. (960 won).

Officials from Consumers Korea commented that among the 35 products compared across the 13 cities, the Korean grocery prices of 31 products ranked in the top five.

“Prices of Korean agricultural products were expensive compared to prices in other countries. Since customs tariffs are being lowered due to different free trade agreements, regulations should be established so that the financial benefits of free trade can be passed on to consumers,” said the officials.

* By M H Lee

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