Sugar prices surge in South Korea

Seoul: The price of sugar and salt in South Korea has increased by about 17% on-year in September, the sharpest increase in 2023. This could lead to higher prices for processed foods, drinks, and restaurant food menus.

The hike in sugar prices can be attributed to several distinct factors. Sugar prices have been influenced by elevated import rates of raw sugar sourced from countries such as Brazil and Colombia. South Korea, in response, processes these imported raw sugars into white and brown sugar.

According to data by the National Statistical Information Service, the price index for sugar reached 141.58 in September, reflecting a significant increase of 16.9 percent compared to the same period in 2022. This marks the most substantial increase in sugar prices in the last 12 months since a 20.7 percent surge was recorded in September 2022. Notably, the increment in sugar prices stands at 4.6 times the overall price increase of all products (3.7 percent) and 2.9 times the elevation observed in processed foods (5.8 percent).

This surge in sugar prices highlights the challenges faced by both consumers and industries that rely on sugar as a key ingredient, and its impact on food inflation.


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