I went to say hello to my grandfather laI went to say hello to my grandfather last holiday. My grandfather gave me 10,000 won in my hand to add to the price of coffee, even though it was a small amount of money. For a moment, I thought again about the value of 10,000 won given to my hand. Now, this is an era in which it does not sound strange to say that you should add 10,000 won to the price of coffee, which is not even a meal. However, five years ago, the money left after a meal was now considered to be the price of coffee.
Recently, the word “Lunchflation” has been coined to refer to this situation. It is a combination of “Lunch” and “Inflation,” which recently emerged as the burden of lunch costs for office workers and students increased. According to the Korea Consumer Resources Price Information Site, the average price of jajangmyeon in was 6,223 won in last month, up 15.56% from a year earlier. Korean cold noodles and coffee rose 10%, and kimbap and kimchi stew and rice dishes rose 8%. The rise in grain prices and labor costs caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine caused rapid inflation.
Office workers and college students visit convenience stores and marts to eat with lunch boxes. E-Mart 24 investigated lunch box sales for the past two months (June 1st to July 26th), and found that it increased by 48% compared to the same period last year. Observing at the sales status of lunch boxes by commercial district during the same period, office commercial district sales (68%) increased the most compared to the same period last year. Single residential areas (54%) and private institutes (42%) also saw a large increase. According to E-Mart 24’s July statistics (1st-20th), the number of simple food discount subscription services increased by 133% compared to the same period last month, and the proportion of office workers in their 40s increased to 34%, up from 19% in March. Sales of lunch boxes from GS25 and CU also increased by 50% and 35% year-on-year, respectively, and many office workers and one to two people households or students, including office workers who felt burdened with eating out due to high prices, are looking for convenience store lunch boxes.
There is a saying, “Koreans live by eating.” We share affection and develop intimacy through stories and interests shared while eating together. The affection of Koreans comes from rice, however the reality is that they cannot say anymore to have a meal together at the expense of a burdensome lunch. Although the number of company dinners and meals together has decreased a lot due to COVID-19, this situation continues due to rising prices. It is necessary for the government to regulate commercial districts so that companies do not only pursue their own profits, but also adjust appropriate food prices by reflecting social issues. Buying a lunch box and eating at each seat will not be the future of post-corona that we draw. I hope to see stable prices and lunch together before COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Lee Bo-young Kyltoria0540@naver.com
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