VEGA News Item

Turmoil in South Korea’s Poultry Industry - 21/12/2010
The Chicken Industry is Speading its Evil Manifestations of Cheap Food at any Price, now Revealed in Events in South Korea
1.  The Chicken industry is spreading its evil manifestations of cheap food at any price, now revealed in events in South Korea. “Few food products have left so much turbulence in their greasy wake, nor revealed so clearly the insecurities that haunt Asia’s 4th-largest economy” reports The Times (14/12/10).
2.  In 4 days the chicken has generated impatient 3-hour queues, street protests, a regulatory investigation, a national soul-searching on the ethics of competition and condemnation from the office of the President.
3.  The controversy erupted a week or so ago, when Lotte Mart, one of South Korea’s biggest retailers, began selling its fried chicken at a level undercutting the market price by more than 60%. Even on “a crude calcution of raw materials and processing,” Korea’s presidential secretary for political affairs “bristled” in a blog, Lotte Mart appeared, in the Times reckoning, “to be losing about 1,200 won (67p) every time it sold a serving of fried chicken from one of its 82 stores.
4.  “Verbal bombardment” has ensued: from Kyochon Chicken and hundreds of small restaurants and shops across South Korea depending on fried chicken for their sales. Their trade body, the Korea Franchise Association, weighed in with a threat of legal action and allegations of dumping (of fried chicken). At first the customers, inflamed by an instance of the little fella confronting rapacious giants such as Lotte, resisted the lures of cheap, fast food, but then succumbed to join the “monstrous” queues at branches of Lotte.
5.  The controversy has developed into “an attractive” model for emerging nations. On the one hand the South Korean economy is proud of the likes of Samsung and LG, “whose push for global dominance involves the same aggressive strategies and leverage of size that Lotte Mart appears to be using with the fried chicken.” However, South Korea has also shown, that, at least where food is concerned, “it does not want the giants to run amok.” 
6.  The first meeting recently of South Korea’s coprosperity committee, was established to ensure balanced growth between big and small business and designed with “precisely this dilemma in mind.”
7.  Lotte has just announced an almost immediate halt on sales of fried chicken, without awaiting any intervention by the East Anglian entrepreneur, Bernard Matthews , who died recently. Little evidence has emerged that kindness to animals and the environment have entered into any sign of disgust over these workings of a relentlessly cruel trade.

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