Korea Seeks to Grow Global Market for Korean Food to Reach USD 224 Billion (KRW 300 Trillion) and Increase Michelin-Starred Korean Restaurants Threefold

Korea Seeks to Grow Global Market for Korean Food to 

Reach USD 224 Billion (KRW 300 Trillion) and 

Increase Michelin-Starred Korean Restaurants Threefold

The agriculture ministry and private-sector experts have put their heads together and worked out 

the recently announced new strategy to strengthen the global standing of Korean food.

Sejong, 5 February 2024 — In step with the emerging global popularity of Korean food, 

the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a “Strategic Plan to Strengthen 

the Global Competitiveness of the K-food Industry” to take Korean food to the next level of 

emerging as a trend-setter in the global gastronomic scene. 

The plan seeks to grow the industry for Korean food in the global market from USD 114 billion 

(KRW 152 trillion) in 2021 to USD 224 (KRW 300 trillion) by 2027 by elevating the value of 

the industry and the attractiveness of Korean food. To bring refined Korean food culture closer to 

people around the world, the plan aims to increase the number of Korean restaurants overseas to 

15,000 and nurture 100 Michelin-starred (“Excellent Cooking”) Korean restaurants. At the same time, 

efforts will be made to establish a brand image of Korean food (with a slogan of “Adventurous Table”) 

in the global gourmet market; register 10 major Korean names and terms in the world’s culinary 

vocabulary to ensure that Korean food ingredients can be called in the Korean language; 

and create 15 “K-gastronomic belts” by 2027. The K-gastronomic belt refers to a value chain of 

Korean food culture that connects the primary (e.g. food ingredients production), 

secondary (e.g. distilleries), and tertiary industries (e.g. experience of distilling traditional alcoholic drinks). 

In May 2023, the Ministry formed a “consultative body for advancement of the Korean food industry”

and set up 10 major objectives in 3 sectors based on voices of people on the ground.

First, the ministry will make efforts to reinforce the foundations of the Korean food industry. 

To this end, our efforts will be focused on increasing the expertise of people working 

in the Korean food industry, expanding the diversity of contents using the Korean Wave, 

and building databases on industries related to Korean food.

Education and training programs will be expanded so that they will not be just for culinary arts students 

but also for those who are working in the industry. As part of the initiative, the ministry will increase 

the number of culinary training institutions for Korean food and the trainees by 2027 from the current 

five to eight institutions and from the current 250 to 600 trainees. In addition, the ministry will work 

with food companies to provide young chefs with opportunities for internships at Michelin-starred 

Korean restaurants. The system for testing and licensing of Korean cuisine chefs will be improved as well. 

To amend the menu for culinary performance testing in a way to reflect the usefulness of a chef certificate, market trends, etc., the ministry will consult other related government agencies. 

Starting this year, the ministry will set up Korean culinary arts courses in two famous culinary schools 

overseas and then increase the number to five by 2027 as part of its efforts to nurture Korean 

cuisine culinary talent in overseas countries.

Second, the ministry will work hard to make the many charms of Korean foods more widely known 

to the world under the slogan of “Adventurous Table” to spread the value of Korean food globally. 

The ministry will also make efforts to enhance the status of Korean food in the global gourmet market. 

For instance, we will select and spread 10 major Korean names and terms describing Korean foods 

to ensure that such names and terms can be known around the world, hold an international 

gastronomic event such as Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and hold an international Korean food conference 

called the “HANSIK Conference” per annum by inviting world-renowned gourmet giants. 

Last, the ministry will seek to expand the industrial ecosystem by enhancing the competitiveness 

of Korean restaurants both in and out of Korea and promoting the connection between the agriculture, 

the tourism, and the culture and art sectors. On the international front, the ministry will designate 

100 Korean restaurants from the world’s top 1% bracket as excellent overseas Korean restaurants 

and, this way, establish and spread the criteria for classy Korean food. On the domestic front, 

the ministry will raise the quality of Korean foods through a restaurant service grading system 

that evaluate not only the quality of foods served but also the quality of space and environment, 

hygiene, human factors, etc.

In addition, the K-gastronomic belt will be created with themes of (1) food fermentation culture, 

(2) traditional Korean foods, (3) seasonal diets, and (4) popular Korean dishes. The gastronomic belt 

will strengthen the connection between agriculture and tourism so that tourists from in and out of 

Korea can have the opportunity to enjoy a tour of Korean cuisine across the nation. We will continue 

making efforts to spread the popularity and success of Korean food into the culture and art industries 

by holding an exhibition featuring products from Korean food-related industries 

(e.g. tableware, handicrafts, paintings, etc.).

“We will make an all-out policy effort to help the Korean food industry ride the Korean Wave 

and then establish its footing as a setter of mega-trends in the global gourmet market,” 

said Agriculture Minister SONG Miryung.