|Customers shop for vegetables at a retail store in Seoul on Aug. 10. Yonhap|
By Kim Jae-heun
Food prices are set to increase further after the Chuseok holiday as companies are moving to reflect soaring prices of imported raw materials, according to industry officials, Monday. The won's continued weakness against the dollar, as well as Typhoon Hinnamnor and other unfavorable weather conditions in recent weeks have made a range of agricultural products more expensive, putting a heavier financial burden on households.
According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), the domestic supply of vegetables like green chili peppers, cucumber peppers and bell peppers have decreased this month, year-on-year.
The KREI predicts the wholesale price of green peppers coming from Cheongyang, South Chungcheong Province, to increase 89 percent from 25,400 won ($18.37) per 10 kilograms last September to 48,000 won this month. The prices of cucumber peppers and red bell peppers are expected to rise 10.2 percent per 10 kilograms and 46.5 percent per 5 kilograms, respectively, in the same period.
However, the institute added that produce prices may rise higher, as it had not reflected the effects of Typhoon Hinnamnor that battered the country on Sept. 6.
Local instant noodle makers like Nongshim and Paldo have already announced price hikes of their main products.
Nongshim will increase the prices of 26 instant noodle products by an average 11.3 percent from Thursday. Paldo also said it plans to raise the prices of 12 instant noodles by 9.8 percent on average on Oct. 1 as manufacturing costs have increased.
"It was inevitable for the company to raise price of its products due to soaring price of raw materials like palm oil and wheat that are main ingredients of instant noodles. Also, the skyrocketing value of the U.S. dollar against the won has increase the price of imported raw materials, which left us no choice but to increase prices," a Nongshim official said.
Confectionery companies like Orion are also reviewing price increases for their snacks for the same reasons.
"Increasing costs of logistics, labor and packaging are all leading local companies to increase product prices. This trend is likely to continue after Chuseok if inflation cannot be curbed," a local confectionery firm official said.