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Dutch chips are a hit in South Korea

Phytosanitary rules stipulate that fresh potatoes and potato seeds may not be exported from the Netherlands to South Korea. Only a few regions in Japan, the USA, and Australia are allowed to send fresh potatoes to South Korea. Processed potatoes, such as chips, can, however, be freely imported since they do not fall under these same phytosanitary rules. Dutch companies are very active in this market.

Chips are one of the fastest growing foodstuff products in South Korea. Over the last ten years, almost three times as many are imported, rising to EUR116 million. Chips are imported because South Korean potatoes are too expensive and are also not suitable to be used for them. In 2017, the USA was, with 78%, the most significant exporter of chips to South Korea. They were followed by Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, and China. Before 2012, the USA had a market share of 90%, but since then the European and Canadian companies have been gaining ground.

Imports of chips in South Korea from 2008 to 2017

Imports have increased considerably over the years

Dutch companies
Two Dutch companies have been active in South Korea since 2012. They have, since, been hard at work increasing their market share. In the period from 2012 to 2017, their share grew from 0,8% to 2,6%, an increase of 325%. This is still small when compared to the total Dutch export of these potato products. In 2016, the Netherlands was, with 23%, the most significant exporter of this products to the tune of EUR1,6 billion.

American companies have been active in South Korea for many years. This means they have a higher brand awareness among the local consumers. Also, the largest fast food chains, such as Lotteria and McDonalds, only use American chips. Although it is difficult to break into the South Korean markets with these relatively unknown Dutch markets, there is a lot of potential in this market. This is dependant on the fact the South Korean consumers become better acquainted with these Dutch chips. The quality and price of Dutch chips are also more competitive than those from other countries.

Dutch companies are actively promoting their brands in South Korea. They take part in different expos, they organise tastings, and they do a lot of social networking. The fact that Dutch products are GMO-free, which is an important marketing point for South Korean consumers. They are very sensitive to food safety. Where possible, the Dutch embassy in that country actively supports companies with different promotional activities.

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