Fried chicken has long been a favorite of consumers in South Korea — and now it also underscores the country's inflationary woes, with food prices across the board weighing more on wallets lately.
That's why he joined a huge throng of shoppers clamoring for cheap fried chicken one August morning at Homeplus, a hypermarket chain that had just slashed 12 percent off its already-heavily discounted prices.
"There were already over 50 people lined up," Park told the reporter, adding that many arrived early and waited well over an hour. "We all ran together to the deli as soon as it opened. That's when I felt the craze of fried chicken."
People around the world have been dealing with similar struggles in recent months as global food prices soared — and scenes like the chicken run at Homeplus are a reminder of how households are adjusting to broader inflation, which has hit 5.7 percent in South Korea.
"All costs related to fried chicken are rising very fast," said Jeong Woo Park, the Nomura economist, adding that vendors are being hit by soaring costs of oil, rent, labor, delivery services and even chicken feed. In response, he added, some restaurants have started using robots to bring labor costs down.
野村證券的經濟專家樸正宇（Jeong Woo Park）表示，炸雞產業的相關成本都在飛速上漲，供應商也受到了油價、房租、人力、配送服務和雞飼料等成本上升的沖擊，一些餐館甚至已經開始使用機器人降低人力成本。