Green, animal welfare, organic trends wrapped into Chuseok holiday gifts
An eco-friendly, ethical consumption trend is visible in this year‘s traditional Chuseok holiday gift sets in South Korea amid the growing interest in “value consumption,” especially among the younger generation.
According to industry sources, Hyundai Department Store Co. is attracting attention from consumers for its “eco-friendly” Korea-raised beef gift sets for the Chuseok holiday, on sale until the 28th. The gift sets feature animal welfare-certified Korean beef raised in a grazing environment, low-carbon Korean beef with reduced carbon emissions by shortening the rearing period to 21-25 months from the previous 30 months, and Korean beef fed with antibiotic-free feed.
One of the farms that supplied beef for these gift sets received an animal welfare certification from the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency. To obtain this certification, the farm must raise cattle in an area 2.8 times larger (14 square meters per head) than the usual rearing environment, and it must have a dedicated exercise field for the cattle.
An animal welfare organic Korean beef gift set is sold for 850,000 won ($644) and a Korean beef set from farms certified for organic and low-carbon practices is sold for 580,000 won.
Emart Inc., Korea’s top big-box chain, increased the supply of low-carbon fruit gift sets for Chuseok holiday compared to last year. Low-carbon fruits are produced using agricultural technology that reduces carbon emissions from the production stage and are certified as low-carbon by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Emart differentiated its low-carbon apple set by filling it around 70 percent with a homegrown apple variety known for its crisp and sweet taste.
Gift sets packaged solely with eco-friendly materials, such as recyclable plastic or paper, are also making their debuts. South Korean food manufacturing giant Daesang Corp. expanded its use of all-paper packaging materials this year, following their initiative last year to replace non-woven fabric shopping bags with all-paper alternatives for their holiday gift sets. The company also adopted environmentally friendly printing methods such as using soybean ink on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and applying water-based coating.
Dongwon F&B Co. launched six gift sets using recycled plastic and more than doubled the quantity of gift sets with all-paper packaging compared to the previous year. “We anticipate saving around 100 tons of plastic with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles,” according to a company official. Another Korean food company, Sajodaerim Corp., also expanded its use of eco-friendly packaging for their Chuseok gift sets this year, reportedly resulting in a total reduction of 91 tons of plastic compared to the previous year.