South Korea Food Report 2:The Rising Cost of Kimchi
In November 2011, food prices rose 4.2% from the previous month and 20% on the year. Although this year the price of kimchi did remain stable at around ($3 a head) and did not jump up to $10-$18 dollars a head like last year. The costs of other ingredients such as garlic, chili powder, ginger, and onions have risen.
To make one head of cabbage kimchi would cost: 15,236 won for material costs without the labor costs of making it. For the average 50 heads that an average family usually makes at kimchi making season it would cost it 761,800 won.
The most surprising increase in the cost of kimchi is the rising cost of red pepper flakes. If you look at the advertisement below from E-mart (one of the top grocery store brands in Korea), the cost for Korean chili flakes for 200 grams is 10,700 won- which would only be enough to make 1 head of kimchi. There is bargain brand of spicy chili flake which costs 14,980 won for 1 kilograms but the chili is from China. Koreans tend not to use Chinese Chili Flakes for kimchi because they believe it is inferior and unhealthy due to their stereotypes about the environment it is grown.
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