The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • Dairy Export Opportunities Series: South Korea

    By USDEC October 27, 2015

    The fourth installment of our eight-part video series looks at a country that is discovering the culinary potential of imported cheese.

    Even as global dairy markets struggle to recover, opportunities exist. This series features the observations of USDEC's international representatives as they identify key opportunities for U.S. dairy exporters. 

    In this installment, USDEC's Y.S. Lee, based in Seoul, South Korea, explains the growing popularity of cheese. South Korea is expected to import 38% more cheese this year than it did in 2011, according to the latest USDA projections. A transcript follows.

    (Full video will display on mobile devices when started.)  

    TRANSCRIPT: The growth in cheese consumption has been phenomenal

    During the past seven or eight years, what is your proudest accomplishment representing USDEC in South Korea?

    Well, just looking at the numbers, it’s great, especially on the cheese side. Our growth in cheese consumption has grown two-digit numbers for the last many years, and I expect that to continue to grow at that pace and that's mainly because of all these new generations of people so used to consuming cheese and they want more cheese—it’s just phenomenal. I mean cheese is not just used in pizza, sandwiches, burgers. It's being applied to traditional Korean spicy cuisine—and especially the young generation, they love the cheese that goes into the spicy dishes that we used to have. So all of this is very promising.Korea-Y.S._Lee-928881-edited

    Can you elaborate more on the dramatic growth in cheese consumption?

    The young people have experienced cheese when they were growing up. Now they want to experience new taste, flavor, and I think that is why Korean cuisine is not just Korean cuisine, but it is kind of a fusion. So you see recipes using western ingredients, and I think that is where the spicy element and cheese being able to give more body to the flavor, but also at the same time make it into a flavor that is quite unique on its own, quite mild, but still has that kick. It’s not just the restaurants. Even the bakeries... they are all looking forward to using more cheese implications in the bakery. So cheese has started to become a hot ingredient when it comes to recipes and culinary. 

    Are you optimistic that the U.S. will help meet this growing demand?

    The Korean trade industry in the recent years have understood they cannot just rely on one supplier. Secondly, they’ve realized that U.S. is a great supplier. We have the volume; we have the capacity to grow our volume, so you cannot ignore the U.S. I think that’s really helped us in making good inroads into the country. I’m confident that with the growing interest from our members, from our industry, we are definitely becoming more competitive, more capable of meeting the future needs and demands. So I’m very optimistic.

    Learn more: Related articles have appeared in the  U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog:

    “Dairy Export Opportunities” includes these eight videos:

    Each video can be reused without permission. To share this video on social media, click the buttons at the top and bottom of this post. To put on your own site, see the video on YouTube and click the "share" button. To request a DVD, contact us at or


    Subscribe to the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog 

    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff.  

    How to republish this post.  


    Global Marketing About USDEC South Korea
subscribe to blog1

10 Most Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts in Past Year

Index of Posts by Topic

Index of Posts by Date, Author

Archives (by date)

+ more archives