Namyang Dairy, Maeil Dairies and Seoul Dairy Cooperative are working to stop using dairy products and other ingredients imported from Japan amid the deepening trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo, according to industry officials Wednesday.
Instead, the companies are looking for suppliers in Europe and other parts of the world.
The move comes after consumers here have added milk and dairy products that contain ingredients imported from Japan to the growing list of boycotted products. Consumers have been boycotting a wide range of goods including cosmetics, snacks, electronics, clothes and other consumer goods.
The Japanese government has restricted shipments to Korea of key materials used in chips and displays since July 4, citing security causes.
Adding to the growing political tensions, Tokyo is expected to remove Seoul from its «whitelist» of countries given preferential trade treatment, Aug. 2.
Maeil Dairies said it is reviewing to replace Japanese milk and dairy flavorings starting next month, without disclosing further information.
«Japan’s economic retaliatory measures affected our decision to cut imports of Japanese milk and dairy flavorings,» a Maeil Dairies official said. «However, the move is part of the company’s desire to diversify its portfolio.»
Namyang Dairies is also considering cutting imports of Japanese milk and dairy raw materials that can be substituted for by other brands.
«Due to the deteriorating relations between Korea and Japan, we are reviewing not using Japanese raw materials that are replaceable,» a Namyang Dairies official said.
«Boycott Japan» has become more sophisticated over the past weeks, from simply boycotting Japanese brands to suggesting local alternative brands. Many carefully review the ingredients in food and raw materials in household goods and electronic devices.
Following the trend, an increasing number of suppliers and merchants have also joined the campaign, saying they will stop offering Japanese goods.
Meanwhile, Seoul Diary is reviewing terminating its contract with Japanese cheese brand QBB.
The milk brand signed a three-year deal with Rokko Butter, the operator of QBB, to import Japanese cheese in November 2018.
However, QBB’s cheese dessert, which comes in three flavors Madagascar Vanilla, Rum Raisins and Rich Nuts, and Froma Jewel, which comes in two flavors Matcha and Chocolate, are at the risk of being discontinued after being sold for less than a year.
«We are currently in the progress of terminating the contract due to sluggish sales in Korea,» a Seoul Dairy official said. «The cheese spreads were not our flagship items, so we’re not concerned about any ill effects regarding the discontinuation.»
Japanese dairy processing is widely known for its freshness and safety, and for these reasons, many local dairy firms have been importing raw materials from the neighboring country.