Upbeat Mood in South Korea’s F&B Industry for Coming Year According to Survey

Upbeat Mood in South Korea’s F&B Industry for Coming Year According to Survey

Nearly 40 percent responded "Very Likely" or "Likely" to expand their business in 2020-21.

By Harold Henry - Jun 3, 2020

Image: Sunyu Kim via Pexels

According to a recent survey conducted by Korean business and market entry advocate Bridging Culture Worldwide in partnership with Tierra Advisors, the mood is upbeat in the South Korean food and beverage industry as the country looks ahead to life after COVID-19.

The bilingual survey, which was conducted from April through mid-May 2020, polled a mix of domestic Korean F&B teams and leadership as well as Korean foodie influencers and business entrepreneurs, asking their views on opportunities for F&B growth and expansion over the next year.

According to the findings, in a lead question on the general mood, a 60 percent majority surveyed shared an overall positive feeling toward the F&B market for 2020-21, said the two organizations. Additionally, the survey found 38 percent responding “Very Likely” or “Likely” to expand their business in 2020-21. In contrast, only 10 percent responded Very Unlikely.


“The study was conducted to gauge the overall market mood and more specifically future F&B growth plans in response to the uncertainty and disruption of COVID-19,” said BCW Founder and CEO Don Southerton.

BCW and Tierra Advisors pointed out that Korea appears to have reined in the outbreak. Still, the economy and businesses like restaurants and coffee shops have suffered. “Although Korea never experienced mandated widespread closures, Koreans pro-actively stayed away from eateries, bars, and cafes,” according to a statement to Branding in Asia. “The restaurants did remain open, eagerly waiting for customers who seldom came.”

Fast forward to today and Korea’s everyday life today is now resembling something closer to normal. There are lines outside restaurants during lunchtime; malls are bustling, and the streets are busier. As a positive indicator, major Korean food brands like SPC have also recently announced plans to open new locations as well as add additional western fast-casual brands, said BCW and Tierra Advisors.


Fast Casual Tops List of Opportunities

Also, highlights of the survey found that among F&B concepts, ‘Fast Casual’ tops the list in the study when looking ahead at where the industry sees the most opportunity for growth in the local Korean market. QSR-Fast Food, Sandwich, Coffee cafes, Juice Bars, and Bakery concepts, too, were popular picks.

In open polling questions at the end of the survey, the top F&B criteria for 2020-2021 food brands included delivery and take-out service, healthy food options, and a value-added menu offering both high quality and affordable pricing.

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