South Korean Cooking Shows Inspire Koreans to Cook

kpopluv, Sept. 3, 2015, 9:44 a.m.

As the popularity of cooking shows is growing, sales of kitchen utensils used on TV are increasing. According to Homeplus, during the four-month period from May to August, sales of cleaver knives jumped 450 percent compared to the same period last year. As programs such as ‘Please Take Care of My Refrigerator‘ and ‘House Cook Master Baek’ gained popularity, the rectangular shaped cleaver knives used by chefs Lee Yeon-bok and Baek Jong-won drew the attention of viewers, and resulted in purchases of the product.

In addition to knives, sales of woks, deep round pans used for stir frying, are also increasing. Woks outsold ordinary frying pans by 30 percent. As well, sales of pasta bowls used by chef Sam Kim soared 150 percent compared to the same period last year. A shredding knife and lemon juicer used in the show ‘Three Meals a Day’ also showed 200 percent and 250 percent sales increases respectively, compared to the same period last year.

Experts say that the phenomenon is similar to the ‘food and cooking craze’ of Japan during their recession. In an interview with Kookmin Ilbo, Kim Byung-yeon, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities, explained that Japan also went through a ‘gourmet’ craze in 1983 due to the popularity of the comic book ‘Taste Master’, and in 1993, the hit cooking competition show ‘Iron Chef’ lead to the birth of many star chefs. When the recession continued, ‘B grade gourmet’, which refers to food that can be cooked easily at a low price, came under the spotlight.

Kim predicts that in Korea, there is also the possibility that businesses related to basic food ingredients and supplies will have an increase in sales during the period of economic decline, just like Japan. Also, he predicted that as consumer interest in cooking grows, the food service industry will also expand.

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