The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) recently published the Food and Drug Statistical Yearbook for 2021, which detailed the country’s health functional foods and general foods sales in year 2020.
Sales of health functional foods within the country had hit KRW$3.1 trillion (US$2.6bn) in 2020. The country also exported KRW$226bn (US$188m) worth of health functional foods.
In total, the domestic and export sales was 12.7 per cent higher than that of year 2019.
Korea Ginseng Corp, which took the top spot for health functional food sales, had grown from strength to strength, as sales was up eight per cent to KRW$530bn (US$ 440m).
Chong Kun Dang Healthcare Corp was up one spot to the number two position. Sales was up 19 per cent to KRW$288bn (US$239m). The company is known for its probiotic brand Lacto-Fit. It also sells probiotics and red ginseng under the brand Youguth.
In the third place is a subsidiary of Korea Ginseng Corp.
Korea Yakult, which was in the fourth place in 2019, was pushed out of the top five charts by ODM/OEM firm KolmarBNH and capsule manufacturer Suheung, which took the fourth and fifth place respectively.
With sales down 27 per cent, Korea Yakult made number seven on the chart, behind a subsidiary of KolmarBNH.
Last year, Korea Yakult also took on a new name – hy – as it attempts to expand its food and beverage portfolio.
Cosmax BIO, Novarex, and Cosmax NBT took the eight, ninth, and 10th position respectively. All three companies are into the OEM/ODM business.
Best-selling health functional food
With Korea Ginseng Corp at the number one spot, it is no surprise that red ginseng is the bestselling health functional food item in the country.
In 2020, the sales of red ginseng was KRW$1.1tr (US$880m), up 0.1 per cent.
Probiotics, vitamin and mineral, and edible oil containing EPA and DHA made up the remaining top five bestselling items.
Fructo-oligosaccharide, which is considered a prebiotic, is ranked number six.
Interestingly, marigold flower (Tagetes erecta) extract is also rising in popularity, as it went up from ninth to the seventh place last year.
Aloe, milk thistle extract, and protein took the 8th to 10th spot.