[Anchor Lead]As rice consumption in Korea falls, the surplus rice is increasingly becoming a social concern. The industry is seeking new markets through processed rice products such as precooked instant rice.[Pkg]Precooked instant rice and porridge are so convenient. All they need is microwave heating. Fried rice and bibimbap, rice mixed with veggies, are also introduced as frozen foods for convenient consumption. Consumers who have tried them say they are actually not bad.[Soundbite] Song Soo-yeon(Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do Prov. Resident) : "It's nice because I don't have to cook rice. It's also tasty. It's better than warming up leftover cold rice."Last year, daily per capita rice consumption fell 1.6% from a year ago while the volume of rice consumed by rice processing firms that manufacture related food and drinks rose 14.5% during the same period. Processed foods include rice cakes, liquor, instant rice and biscuits. Of this list, rice dishes in particular such as frozen or instant rice or lunch boxes posted a sharp rise in sales. Younger people, bigger families and higher income earners were larger buyers of instant rice products. Reflecting this trend, measures to increase consumption of newly harvested rice have become all the more important.[Soundbite] Han Gwi-jeong(Rural Development Administration) : "The price level is right in terms of supply and demand. Also sufficient supply can be secured. I believe continued processing of harvested rice is the way to go for the processing sector."Efforts are called for to raise the type of rice that's better for making instant rice dishes. Efforts on improved quality and connecting rice consumption with a sustainable Korean food lifestyle are also considered necessary.
TagsKBS News Today