An article in the Korean media notes the buzz word in Korea's service industry for several years, from restaurants to fitness clubs, has been well-being. That has been bad news for the country’s fast-food market, one of the biggest in Asia, which enjoyed explosive growth until 2002, both in sales and the number of franchises. But a growing awareness among Koreans of the dangers of obesity prompted many consumers to turn elsewhere.
This led to a noticeable decline in sales. To boost them and cater to changing tastes, fast food chains started offering lighter and healthier items. The biggest hit product in Korea's $3 billion fried-chicken industry last year was chicken fried in olive oil from the BBQ franchise.
The company claims the olive-oil chicken is free of trans-fatty acid commonly found in hydrogenated vegetable oils that are linked to heart disease. Consumers have been taken by the marketing strategy. We introduced the Olive Oil Chicken last May and the response has been sensational. Our sales shot up by 30 percent, a company staffer said. Koreans are very sensitive to health, and they're showing preference for this chicken that's tasty and yet good for your health. I'm expecting the entire fried-chicken industry soon to use olive oil.