Koreans Aren’t Drinking Milk, Farmers Slaughtering Cows

Korean consumers aren’t buying milk, leading milk consumption to drop to one of the lowest points in the past thirteen years. Part of the reason is due to the declining fertility rates, as less babies are being born, and children are the leading consumer group. Another reason could be the increase in drink options, from coffee to juice. Netizens however say the main reason is that milk prices in Korea are prohibitively expensive.

Article from SBS:

Koreans Aren’t Drinking Milk, Tears As Farmers May Need to “Slaughter Cows”


Recently, there has been a surplus of milk, pushing farmers and milk producers into the straits.

koreans not drinking milk society farmers dairy cows

Reporter Lee Tae-woo has more on why milk isn’t selling well even though producers are bending over backwards to increase milk consumption.


The biggest reason for the decrease in milk consumption is because the decrease in fertility has diminished the numbers of the largest consumer group –children.

The rise in milk substitutes is also having an impact.

Lee Shin-ja, Housewife: “Well, now there are so many choices when it comes to what you can buy. It’s not like before where there was only milk–now there are many drink options besides milk. For instance, there’s coffee.”

She is even spreading stories about the negative impact of milk on one’s health.

Lee Geun-sung, CEO of Crimson Dairy: “Some researchers are spreading negative and inaccurate stories about milk…

Last year, the volume of milk sales at Daehyung Mart fell by 3.6% compared to the previous year. In particular, sales in the fourth quarter of last year fell by 8.9%.

Of the inventory of remaining milk that has been dehydrated as dry milk, there remains more than 16,800 tons that have not been sold, a record high over the past thirteen years.

Daehyung Mart is selling bundled 2 for 1 milk bottles at one-liter each for a discount, but sales are weak.

One dairy cow eats 30kg of feed and drinks 100 liters of water per day.

The price of feed is a huge burden to farmers as the consumption of milk continues to decline.

Livestock farmers are being forced to take drastic measures like slaughtering their laboriously raised cows.

>Chung Ha-young, dairy farm owner: Here, we feel more strongly the consumer’s decision to turn away from milk, and we won’t be able to survive if the consumption of milk continues to decline.

One alternative is to export milk to China, but the Chinese authorities took issue with the sterilization method, and are blocking our milk from getting through customs, so it’s difficult to find a solution.

Comments from Naver :


They’ll die before they decrease prices, right?


Even if [the milk] overflows and they have to throw it away, they won’t decrease prices keke


So they would never say milk is not selling well because it’s expensive…It’s hard to find another country with milk as expensive as ours.


Take a look at the prices internationally before you talk.


Eastern people aren’t able to digest milk unless they have the body for it. Soymilk is better.


The biggest reason I don’t drink milk is because it’s expensive.


One bottle of milk is 3000 won- is that a small sum? Even in Japan where the hourly wage is 8000 won, you can buy a big pack of milk for 1500 won.


The heart of the problem is the price…


In a country that doesn’t produce a single drop of gas, milk is more expensive than gas. Something’s wrong. Lower the price of milk…


But the price of dairy and dairy products continues to go up…


Will people drink such expensive milk?


What idiots keke lower the price keke

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  • keii

    uhh that expensive..

  • chucky3176

    Milk farmers are not making any money because they can’t sell enough milk, but the only ones who are making money are the milk distributors. If there’s a falling consumption and the demand is weakening, yet there is more supply than demand, then logical capitalism dictates that the prices should fall. Yet it doesn’t. Until South Korea as a country, tackles the antiquated distribution system that only fattens the wallets of the middlemen, prices for everything will stay high, preventing the domestic economy from growing. Korean government, should stick up for the consumers, instead of the corporations, as they’ve always done.

    • HaydenG

      dude… Korea places a 40% tax on all imported milk. How about remove that shit so you can import cheap Australian and American milk.

      • chucky3176

        Dude, the duties on Australian milk will be zero starting Jan. 1, 2016 with the Korea-Australia FTA. Also, the duties on American milk is zero as well since 2012 with the Korea-USA FTA. The tariffs were removed, why don’t you update your manual.

        • HaydenG
          • kpop

            Haha he was snarky calling you dude back, then got pwned by basic government facts available online. LOVE IT

          • chucky3176

            I stand corrected on the tariff rates against US milk exports, but you were also wrong, claiming 40% tariffs rate. Also, the tariffs are a gradual decreases over the ten years period, until they hit zero.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    What don’t these farmers and companies understand about supply and demand?? They’re basically saying, “We produce a lot of milk, therefore consumers should be buying it!” And these are the same dairy companies that got in trouble for illegally fixing the price of cheese.

    Screw both the farmers and the dairy companies. If they insist on producing expensive dairy products, then let some of them go bankrupt so at least the supply will get in line with demand. Nobody feels sorry for them. If they can’t make a living doing in dairy, then they should find a new job. Besides, maybe this will lower the price of beef :)

    • chucky3176

      Farmers sell their products in set fixed prices set by Korean government coops. It doesn’t matter if there is more demand or less demand, the compensation they get will always be the same fixed rate. That is true for at least the rice farmers, I’m not sure about the dairy farmers though.

  • Ken Morgan

    Why don’t they export it to China then? Australian dairy farmers sell immense amounts of dried milk to China because people in China don’t trust Chinese farmers not to taint the milk.

    • Xman2014

      They used to, and Korean milk was a huge seller in China because Chinese consumers didn’t trust their country’s milk which were often dangerous fake milk. That was before China threw up a trade barrier.

      From the translated article:

      “One alternative is to export milk to China, but the Chinese authorities took issue with the sterilization method, and are blocking our milk from getting through customs, so it’s difficult to find a solution.”

      I wonder if South Korea negotiated this matter with China, when they were negotiating the FTA. Obviously not, since they’re still getting blocked.

    • tomoe723

      I doubt anybody else trusts China milk… or even chocolates. My uncle gave me these knock-off Ferrero Rocher chocolates. It looked like it, packaging and all, but different name, but the back label says made in P.R.C. Mother just threw it down the trash. Haha.

      • WannabeXenophile

        Good for her! Never take any chances with fake food.

  • bigmamat

    So it’s expensive. It’s also controversial that it’s even very healthy. Certainly whole milk has a lot more calories than the usual weight watcher would want to add to their diet.

  • commander

    There has been reportedly a glut of milk.

    But surprisingly, the oversupply of milk on the market hasn’t led to a dip in prices of dairy products, posing a puzzling question to people: The oversupplied milk that isn’t accompanied by a price declines hurt both milk producers and consumers, what does the hell go wrong with the dairy market?

    The answer is that the milk price is not determined by the supply and demand, as many people believe, but by production costs.

    Specifically, the milk price is determined by fixed standard production costs, which reflect statistics on milk output cost, and variable unit price including consumer prices level.

    And milk production varies from season to season, with the summer seeing the milk in short supply because of a shrinking production outweighing the demand, and the winter having the glut of the milk due to overproduction from cows.

    The way the milk is priced in South Korea is similar to the way Britain, Canada and Japan which are both advanced in the dairy industry, does.

  • HaydenG

    Korea has the most f***ked up protectionist import tariffs ever. They are screwing over their own people so fricken badly. Milk is only this expensive because they block importation to protect Korean farmers with insane tariffs

    • Small twon

      How the heck you suggest import “milk”?

      • Sophia Dalke

        It’s called refrigeration. It was invented in the 19th century. How else do you think most perishable food is transported and traded?

        • Small twon

          uhh ..what I meant was I don’t think it is not profitable to import/export fresh milk. Sure you can do it but nobody do that..

          • Sophia Dalke

            See imports of bulk and packed milk for China: http://www.clal.it/en/index.php?section=stat_cina

            They’re separated from powders, cheeses and byproducts.


          • Steve An

            Yeah, but there’s a huge market for it in China because of the fake egg/milk crisis there, thus being very profitable. S. Korea, on the other hand, doesn’t have that. Our culture regards milk as for children, really, and there’s kind of a bias against drinking milk as it is seen as being ‘feminine’ or ‘childish’. Personally, I don’t care about that though, and still drink about a gallon a week, even if my friends occasionally tease me about it. Really, don’t say “pwnt” please, without considering the demographics surrounding it.

  • nancy

    In Canada 1 litre of milk is $2.50 Which is similar to Korea’s. Considering korea is a small country geographically with less cows the prices don’t seem all that expensive.

    • pat

      Canada’s milk price is twice the US price because of “supply management”… i.e. the government restricts the production of milk to keep prices high.
      This is how corruption works in democracy… legally and in plain sight, hidden by enough complexity to dissuade the apathetic majority from caring.

  • Fish

    3000 won is 300 yen, right? That’s way too high- double the price of Japan.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t most Koreans lactose-intolerant anyway?

    • Evan

      People become lactose intolerant naturally as they age unless they continue consumption of dairy products into adulthood. The fact that a majority of koreans may be lactose intolerant would just be another indication that they don’t drink a lot of milk.

      • ryan

        That’s not how it works at all. Europeans, Tibetans, etc. are lactose tolerant because of genes. Koreans lack these genes and even if they continue to drink milk into adulthood most of them will still become lactose intolerant.

      • Sid Driver

        I’ve often wondered about this… one of the best decisions of my life was giving up milk around 25. I wondered if it was related to age or the fact that these days cows are so loaded with steroids and hormones to increase milk production creating a less then healthy milk. Since quitting I’ve had a noticeable health increase, less bloating and bathroom related problems.

      • Guest

        false. Im lactose intolerant even though all my family drinks a lot of milk

      • Seri Park

        Northern Europeans can drink milk because of a mutation in the lactase inhibitor gene; ~70% of the world in lactose intolerant, and ~80% of East Asians are lactose intolerant.

  • Az Ze

    Koreans are all lactose intolerant, milk which has been pasteurised homogenised is acidic and sucks calcium out of the bone marrow and besides Koreans don’t eat cereal. Milk is just another unhealthy drink option that doesnt taste good unless loaded with sugar. Good riddance I say.

    • Sophia Dalke

      You really think that *milk* of all things decreases calcium in the body?

      • Sid Driver

        There is a theory that milk actually leaches calcium away from the bones. I’ve read a few studies on it and it’s interesting. It’s also debated by nutritionists and health professionals.

        Often milk producers include additional calcium in their milk to (possible?) make up for this. (You may see calcium enhanced, calcium enriched, calcium fortified, or a good source of calcium on the milk.)

        A quick google search pulled up this article.

    • WannabeXenophile

      I’ve had milk that’s tasted good (milk has its own sugar, so adding sugar is redundant IMO) but I do agree with most of the rest of this post.
      I feel better and don’t have as bad of a runny nose when I switch to alternatives.

  • icup ✔️

    i’m lactose intolerant and i still drink milk coffee… then give me an hour in the bathroom. but it sure taste good though.

    • death_by_ivory

      Why u no take lactase pills or drink lactose free milk?

    • Sid Driver

      Haha I agree with you… sometimes it’s worth it for a nice, cool, refreshing glass of milk!

    • WannabeXenophile

      What about a substitute instead e.g. Koko Dairy Free?

  • Dark Night

    So cut prices already…

  • suppertime

    They’re killing cows because of overproduction but milk is still expensive. Same thing happened recently with beef. There’s a vast layer of middlemen protected by the gov’t capturing monopolistic profits on almost everything we buy.

  • it’s silicon inside

    Wow!! so the only thing ppl care now is the price of milk and not the cow getting killed?? U are the reason why cows are forcefully bred to make milk and now killed because of u pahetic human beings. U should die instead of the cows

    • Boris

      Bit harsh.

      • it’s silicon inside

        Innocent lifes getting is killed is way harsher

        • Steve An

          Humans are omnivores. You probably ate meat of some organism before. Not to mention your name which causes me to suspect a troll. :D

  • That’s marvelous

    1 liter of milk in Netherlands = 700 won.

    Price of milk in Korea + price of cereal in Korea made me change my breakfast routine.

  • Guest

    fewer kids, less milk consumption. this is because of an increase in under metabolized limbic systems due to low empathy.

  • examplesample

    Milk causes gas, cancer, and cows to be raped, so big whoop de doo.

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