Overview of Dutch agri-food export to South Korea in 2022

Dutch agricultural exports to South Korea showed impressive growth in 2022, with a total export value of EUR 681 million, an increase of 17.6% compared to the previous year. Korean consumers' growing interest in western food and the impact of the Korea-EU free trade agreement (FTA) positively affected trade. On the other hand, the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic on agri-food trade was limited.

The agriculture team at the embassy of the Netherlands in Seoul monitors the trade between the Netherlands and South Korea and, when necessary, facilitates the businesses, removing trade barriers. Each year an overview of the exports is provided to assist the companies and highlight the rising opportunities in South Korea for Dutch companies.

The largest export commodity in 2022 was pork, followed by milk powder preparation, cheese, beer, feed preparation, and butter preparation. Pork, milk powder preparation, and beer were ranked in the second, third, and 13th places respectively by export value among all the trade commodities, including non-agricultural products exported from the Netherlands to South Korea.

Fig.1 Agri-food exports from the Netherlands to South Korea by year
Beeld: ©SEO-LAN
Fig.1 Agri-food exports from the Netherlands to South Korea by year
Table 1. Top 10 Dutch agri-food commodities exported to South Korea in 2020, 2021 and 2022
No. Year 2020 Year 2021 Year 2022
Commodities Exports (EUR Mil.) Commodities Exports (EUR Mil.) Commodities Exports (EUR Mil.)
1 Milk powder preparation 103 Pork 133 Pork 175
2 Pork 51 Milk powder preparation 112 Milk powder preparation 153
3 Beer 36 Cheese 40 Cheese 43
4 Butter preparation 26 Beer 38 Beer 29
5 Food processing machinery 22 Feed preparation 25 Feed preparation 26
6 Feed preparation 20 Butter preparation 25 Butter preparation 24
7 Cheese 16 Malt extract 23 Cocoa preparation 15
8 Malt extract 14 Preserved vegetables 17 Food processing machinery 14
9 Cocoa preparation 11 Cocoa preparation 16 Preserved vegetables 13
10 Starch 10 Farming machinery 12 Casein 13


Dutch pork exports hit a record high of EUR 175 million in 2022 again, increasing 31.2 % compared to the previous year. Korean consumers have increasingly demanded imported pork products since local pork price is about twice as expensive as imported pork. Especially in 2021 and 2022, the demand for Dutch pork soared due to outbreaks of African Swine Fever in Germany and Belgium. The Netherlands was the 3rd largest exporter of pork after Spain and the US. Around 66% of pork exported from the Netherlands to Korea was frozen pork belly (called Samgyeopsal in the Korean language), mainly for Korean BBQ.

Milk powder preparation

Milk powder preparation is a blend of milk and whey powder created to lower customs when exported to South Korea. Dutch pork exports hit a record high of EUR 153 million in 2022, increasing 36.7% compared to the previous year. The Netherlands is the largest exporter of milk powder preparation, accounting for 63% of the market. As local raw milk in South Korea costs more than twice as much as the world's average raw milk, the demand for high-quality dairy ingredients from abroad is high. The Netherlands has a good name in the Korean market for its high-quality dairy chain. Dutch milk powder preparation is mainly used in the Korean dairy and confectionary sectors. Especially in 2022, protein products became popular among adult consumers for diet, sports, and immunity. South Korea imported Dutch milk powder products, such as whey protein, goat milk protein, and lactoferrin, as raw materials for the protein products.

Fig.2 Pork and milk powder preparation exports from the Netherlands to South Korea by year
Beeld: ©SEO-LNV
Fig.2 Pork and milk powder preparation exports from the Netherlands to South Korea by year


Dutch cheese exports grew and reached EUR 43 million in 2022, increasing 6.4 % compared to the previous year. The Netherlands has exported mainly Gouda cheese and some processed cheese to South Korea. In 2021, the Netherlands started exporting mozzarella cheese to South Korea. The Netherlands became the 4th largest exporter of cheese through this market development after the US, New Zealand, and Germany. That is four ranks up compared to 2020.


Dutch beer exports continued growing until 2021, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as more Koreans stayed and enjoyed drinking at home. Unlike other beers, Dutch beer tends to be enjoyed at home rather than in bars or restaurants. In 2022, people started going out for dinner as the pandemic was near the end, and the sales of Dutch beer also went down by 22.8%. The Netherlands lost 1st place to China in the export value of beer to South Korea.


Food and feed ingredients such as feed preparation, casein, and cocoa powder showed steady growth in the export value. Similarly, agriculture, food, and dairy (milking robot) machinery also grew. Finally, Dutch beverages, sauces, coffee/tea, soybean milk, and liquor emerged as a new market.

You can download the overview on following document link.