Insight – Australian seafood catches Korean attention

21 December 2021

Australian seafood caught the attention of Korean buyers and importers at two major seafood events. Austrade promoted 14 exporters at the events, eight of whom are now in commercial discussions. The events also provided valuable market insights for exporters.

Promoting Australian seafood

In late October, Austrade hosted its first Premium Seafood Showcase in Seoul. Austrade invited 14 seafood exporters to showcase their products to 30 buyers. Austrade also presented a seminar on Australian rock lobster and seafood and arranged virtual business matching sessions.

This was followed by the Busan International Seafood and Fisheries Expo. Held on 3–5 November, the Expo is Korea’s largest seafood trade show. Austrade promoted the same 14 seafood exporters to buyers at the Australian Pavilion. Three companies provided samples, including live and frozen rock lobster and frozen fish products. Around 100 people visited the Pavilion over the 3-day event.

Solid results for exporters

At the two events, Austrade organised over 90 virtual business meetings and introductions.

‘We’ve had a great response from buyers,’ says Helen Oh, Trade and Investment Commissioner at Austrade Korea. ‘Eight exporters are already in commercial discussions.

‘The events also increased awareness of Australian rock lobsters. We’ve had some follow-up enquiries. We’ve also started market access discussions for new seafood species.’

Insights and recommendations for Australian seafood exporters

Discussions and feedback at the events produced the following insights.

  1. Market niche premium products. Korean seafood importers showed interest in:
    1. live and frozen rock lobsters
    2. frozen scallops
    3. sea urchin
    4. large prawns and crabs
    5. yellowtail kingfish
    6. live eels.
  1. Consider offering half-split frozen lobsters. This product is easy to handle and will appeal to Korean food service and hypermarket consumers. Canadian lobster companies do not export half-split frozen lobsters.
  2. Boost consumer knowledge of Australian rock lobsters. Korean media coverage has increased interest in Australian rock lobsters. But Korean consumers’ knowledge about Australian rock lobsters is still low. A coordinated in-market promotion will help differentiate Australian lobsters from Canadian lobsters.
  3. Consider MSC certification. Consumers want to know if seafood has been sustainably caught when deciding to buy. Consider getting Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Importers and retailers also emphasise the certification in marketing activities.
  4. Register your products. New exporters need to register their seafood species and foreign food facility with Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Austrade can explain the registration process. You should work with your importer to make the arrangements.

Support from Austrade

Contact Heemok Cho, Business Development Manager at Austrade Korea, for more information on exporting seafood to Korea.

Go further, faster with Austrade

Go to Austrade export services to learn the basics, find the right markets and understand market requirements.