COVID-19 Brings About a "New Cultural Landscape" for Family Month in Korea
SEOUL, South Korea, May 4, 2022 -- In Korea, May is known as "Family Month." The 5th is designated as "Children's Day" for children, the 8th as "Parents' Day" for parents, the 15th as "Teacher's Day" to thank teachers, and the 21st as "Married Couple's Day," a day when two become one. On each of these special days, people give gifts to the targeted group to show their appreciation.
Due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, Family Month is changing. Events that were once held for each special day of the month have all been canceled, and now people catch up and send gifts online instead of visiting in person.
Parents' Day, a day for children to show appreciation to their parents for giving birth to them and raising them, is considered the most important holiday in Korea after Chuseok and Lunar New Year. Traditionally, children would pin carnations, the symbol of Parents' Day, on their parents' chests to express their appreciation and devotion.
However, this tradition is becoming a thing of the past. Due to the prolonged spread of COVID-19, parents are concerned and are telling their children, "Don't visit," and children are also hesitant to visit their parents due to the concern of infection. For this reason, many Koreans are paying more attention to gifts, which is the only way to express their gratitude.
Last year, a Korean online shopping mall conducted a survey titled "The Gift You Want to Give Your Parents on Parents' Day." The top choice was "cash" followed by "health food," including red ginseng. Around 60% of people in their 20s and 30s, also referred to as Millennials and Generation Z, chose gifts such as "health food" rather than "cash," indicating that more consumers care about their parents' health in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Red ginseng is Korea's representative health food and is produced by steaming and drying six-year-old ginseng. The combination of substances produced during this process, including saponin, ginseng polysaccharide, amino sugar, and minerals, relieve fatigue by reducing the concentration of fatigue substances and stimulating energy-producing hormones. In addition, red ginseng helps boost immunity by activating macrophages, which kill viruses.
The benefits of red ginseng have been officially recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which is the Korean ministry that regulates the safety of food and drugs. Recognized for its various health benefits, including boosting immunity, reducing fatigue, improving blood circulation and memory, and having antioxidant properties, red ginseng is the top selling functional health food in Korea. As interest in immunity has grown due to COVID-19, more and more Korean consumers are seeking out red ginseng.
Korea's leading red ginseng brand is "CheongKwanJang," which accounts for around 70% of the Korean red ginseng market. To produce the highest quality red ginseng, CheongKwanJang starts by inspecting the soil where the ginseng will be planted and guarantees its six-year-old domestic red ginseng through 100% contract farming. Moreover, CheongKwanJang produces products that consumers can trust by conducting safety inspections on 430 items over the course of eight years, from two years of soil management when selecting the plot to when the final product is shipped, including six years of cultivation.
CheongKwanJang's sales analysis shows that red ginseng products targeting middle-aged people are popular gifts for children to purchase for their parents in May, which is known as "Family Month." Sales of CheongKwanJang's signature products, including its "Korean Red Ginseng Extract," a concentrated red ginseng product; "Korean Red Ginseng Tonic," a traditional liquid product favored by middle-aged men; and "Hwa Ae Rak," a functional red ginseng product for women experiencing menopause, increased by more than 70–80% compared to the previous month for people in their 20s and 30s.
CheongKwanJang stated that in the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Koreans have been paying more attention to health and immunity. Added that this year, CheongKwanJang is receiving a lot of product inquiries from people who are concerned about their parents' health.
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SOURCE KGC (Korea Ginseng Corp.)