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From food to cosmetics, veganism becomes more popular in Korea
Updated: 2019-08-21 07:05:04 KST
Time now for our "Life & Info" segment where we focus on information we hope is useful for your everyday life.
We have our business correspondent Kim Hyesung in the studio today to discuss the rising vegan trend in South Korea.
So Hyesung, tell us more.

Mark, veganism is the practice of abstaining from eating or drinking any animal products including eggs and dairy products.
It also rejects the commodity status of animals, and is against all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.
And products tailored to vegans are on the rise.

So for food products, I'm sure many have heard of meat-free burger patties made out of plants like pea protein.
There's been a sharp increase in the number of vegan food businesses, it's doubled here in Korea in the past 8 years, including burgers and bakeries that do not use dairy products or eggs. The Grand Hyatt Hotel also added a new vegan burger menu in June.
At grocery stores, you can also easily find meat-free, plant-based products.
Vegan ice-creams that are made of soy milk are also on offer at some department stores.

2. Wow, everything from burgers to cakes. What's driving this rise of veganism in Korea?

There are couple reasons, like health, animal welfare, and environmental protection.

Data shows more than a third of world's grain production is used to produce meat, contributing to food security problems and climate change.
Veganism is mainly led by millennials, those aged 25 to 34.

"Millennials have a tendency to show their values and beliefs via their consumption patterns. With this change in awareness that emphasizes ethical consumption and animal protection, and social media that spreads this message via pictures and videos, more companies are coming up with vegan products and veganism is growing rapidly.

In fact, data shows one out of four American millennials identify themselves as vegans or vegetarians.
According to the Korea Vegetarian Union, around one-and-a-half million Koreans are estimated to be vegans or vegetarians, that's 3 percent of the total population… and is more than ten times the figure back in 2008.

And this interest in vegan lifestyle has expanded into cosmetics.
There are foreign brands and Korean local brands in drug stores including shampoos and lotions.
Many have been introduced this year.
Vegan products are stamped with a vegan certification mark, proving they did not use animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, haven't been tested on animals and are GMO-free.

"I look at smartphone cosmetics apps to make sure I buy products that use eco-friendly ingredients, not chemical ingredients."

3. Interesting, so I guess we will see more innovative vegan products in the future?

Yes, in fact there's even a term called 'veganomics' to describe the vegan market as the related industry is huge.
The vegan market in North America and Europe has grown rapidly,

fastfood chains offer vegan burgers, vegan donuts, vegan tacos, and prices are similar to non-vegan products given the high demand. And a similar phenomenon is happening in Asia.
As for cosmetics goods, Grand View Research shows the market will expand by an annual average of six percent and top 20 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
So yes, we will definitely see more vegan products in the next couple of years.

Thanks for the interesting information, Hyesung.

My pleasure.
Reporter :