Exports of red pepper paste, Korean sauces hit record high in 2023

SEOUL, South Korean exports of red pepper paste, as well as sauces, reached an all-time high last year on the back of the growing popularity of Korean food and cultural content, the customs agency said Tuesday. Overseas shipments of red pepper paste, called "gochujang" in Korean, soy sauce and various kinds of seasonings amounted to US$380.4 million in 2023, rising 6.2 percent on-year, according to the Korea Customs Service. In terms of volume, the country shipped 131,800 tons of such items last year, the second-largest amount ever after 2021, when the country exported 132,000 tons, the data showed. By item, sauces accounted for the largest share with $240.1 million, which include soy sauce for making "bulgogi," or Korean BBQ, and spicy hot chicken sauce, or "buldak" sauce, followed by bean-based pastes, such as "doenjang," with $111 million. The United States was the No. 1 market with 21.8 percent of the total, followed by China, Japan, Russia and Vietnam. Sauces were exported to 139 nations last year, also a record high, the agency said. "The growth in the exports of sauces came as Korean food and various cultural content have drawn attention around the world," an agency official said. Source: Yonhap News Agency