Prices of fruit and vegetables are spiking in stores and markets across the country ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Unfortunately, the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation has stated that people are expected to pay about 16 percent more for groceries this year. When buying food for a Charye table, South Koreans who shop at traditional markets will spend an average of 230 U.S. dollars. But when shopping at a large retail store, the same items will cost around 330 dollars.
Meanwhile, costs of other essentials for the holiday feast have dropped. Radish prices are down 45 percent and napa cabbage is 33 percent cheaper. Market watchers say the surge in grocery prices is due to a poor harvest last year.
To ease the pressure on household budgets large retail stores and major online malls are giving out coupons with 20 percent discounts. The government is also expanding supplies of 16 popular staples in a bid to stabilize the market prices.