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JKM > Volume 35(1); 2014 > Article
Chang-Gue: Progress of Functional Food Market in Korea and Strategy of Korean Medicine



To analyze the growth pattern of the functional food market in Korea, and thus produce essential information in mapping out a strategy for Korean medicine.


A survey of literature or analysis reports about market changes related to functional foods in Korea was undertaken.


The Korean functional food market has been growing rapidly, to 1.4 trillion won in 2012 compared to 250 billion won in 2004, which is an annual growth rate of about 14%. In particular, individually-approved functional food is worthy of notice regarding its growth rate and functional position, which is similar to herbal drugs. The expanding growth of functional food affects negatively the decrease of herbal drug industry in Korea to date.


To compete with functional foods, the Korean medicine community needs to develop patient-friendly and cost-effective herbal drugs, and strategies to adopt them as therapeutic modalities.

Fig. 1
Annual production of functional foods in Korea. Total market size functional food production was shown from 2004 to 2012.
Fig. 2
Market share of functional foods in Korea. The market share of main functional food in 2012 was shown.
Fig. 3
Number of individually-approved functional food in Korea. The sum resource number of individually-approved functional food was shown by 2013.
Fig. 4
Market size of individually-approved functional food in Korea. Total market size individually-approved functional food production was shown from 2008 to 2012.


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