The Korean food staple, Kimchi, continues to grow in popularity with a 23% increase in exports to the UK last year.*

In 2019, 886 tons of Kimchi products were exported to the UK, worth over £2.5 million. So far this year (January to September 2020) 656 tons have been imported**, showing that Kimchi continues to tickle the tastebuds of discerning Brits.

Kimchi is a fermented food made using a variety of vegetables such as cabbage, radish and cucumber with a combination of seasoning including red pepper powder, garlic and ginger.

Available to purchase in a range of products, from fresh packets to store cupboard essentials and sauces, Kimchi is available in more retailers than ever before in the UK. It can be easily found in nationwide supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons, as well as in Asian stores across the country. A food staple in Korea and on offer at almost every meal of the day in its home country, Kimchi is praised globally for its various health benefits and has been cited as one of the healthiest dishes in the world.

Fermentation for a low calorie & healthy ingredient

There are more than 200 different varieties of Kimchi, however the most well-known is the one made with Chinese cabbage. The lacto-fermented seasoning of Kimchi which is wrapped in Chinese cabbage leaves is a major factor in its health benefits as this makes the product rich in vitamins A, B1 and B2 as well as high in calcium and iron. Kimchi is also low in calories and packed full of amino acids and probiotics. These living microorganisms, which are similarly naturally present in plenty of foods in the UK diet such as yoghurt and cheese, work with the bacterial flora and help aid digestion and strengthen the immune system. These microorganisms also help reduce cholesterol levels.

Kimchi to spice up everyday meals

Low in calories but rich is fibre and vitamins A, B, C, this plant-based food is typically served as a side dish, but can equally be part of main meal. Kimchi is packed full of spicy umami flavours and can be enjoyed on its own as a starter or incorporated with rice and grilled meat for a more substantial dish. Kimchi can easily be used in European cooking as it also works well with pasta dishes or even a casserole.

The juice from Kimchi is a seasoning in itself, which is why it’s a good idea to keep aside to use in future dishes. When you don’t have a lot of time to cook but still want to enjoy a tasty dish, simply add a little kimchi and its juice to pan-fried rice or pasta. No more bland pasta!

Made in Korea, the origins of kimchi

Said Junga HA, Director at Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation’s European office in Paris: “Kimchi is truly at the heart of eating here in Korea. You could no more imagine a diner in Seoul forgoing Kimchi than a Brit opting for roast beef without Yorkshire pudding. It’s a tasty and healthy food option and we’re delighted consumers in the UK are enjoying the benefits Kimchi has to offer.”

Although some other countries are also known to produce Kimchi, Korea is the product’s country of origin, which was officially recognised by the international standard for food (CODEX) in 2001. In order to help consumers in export markets distinguish Korean Kimchi, an official Kimchi character was created to be used on packaging, to guarantee the authentic Kimchi taste and quality from Korea.


1. Immunity boost and virus suppression
Publication: Scientific Reports (01.2017)

Kimchi lactic acid bacteria are live probiotics that clean the intestine and help improve immunity. It also produces vitamin B that are helpful for neuralgia and fatigue recovery.

2. Antioxidant
Publication: LWT 128 (06.2020)

Vegetables and seasonings in kimchi act as antioxidants in our body. Kimchi that has been well fermented and matured has higher antioxidant properties than kimchi made directly.

3. Prevention of constipation, enteritis
Publication: Foods 9(2), 181(02.2020)

Lactic acid produced by fermentation of kimchi and the dietary fiber of kimchi ingredients prevent constipation.

4. Prevent cholesterol and hardening of the arteries
Publication: LWT 116 (12.2019)

Eating kimchi reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, improving arteriosclerosis and blood flow.

5. Diet effect
Publication: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 62(24), 1800329 (10.2018)

The capsaicin in chili peppers is effective in diet by aiding digestion and increasing basal metabolism. The dieting benefits of Kimchi are more effective when moderately cooked than raw or overcooked.

aTcenter Paris is the European regional headquarters of Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation in the Republic of Korea (aT). aT is the government agency that was founded in 1967 entrusted with the promotion of trade, exportation, and marketing of Korean foods and beverages around the world. It participates in major food trade exhibitions, improves localisation strategies, enhances communication, creates business opportunities between manufacturers, exporters and importers, and develops many other marketing initiatives.

* From the period 01.01.2018 to 31.12.2018: 720 tons / £2.1 million (in value) exported to the UK. From the period 01.01.2019 to 31.12.2019: 886 tons / £2.5 million (in value) exported to the UK. This represents a 23% increase in exports to the UK in terms of volume.

** For the period 01.01.2020 to 31.09.2020: 656 tons / £2.1 million (in value).

Gersende POMMERY
Sopexa UK +44 738 451 1156
Mylène OURY, aTcenter Paris paris@at.or.kr

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