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Tesco to celebrate FTA by bringing kimchi to Koreatown

As the ratification of the US-Korea seems to bumble on interminably, the EU-Korea treaty comes into effect on 1 July. To celebrate, Tesco is running a “Taste of Korea” promotion during July.

Tesco is huge in Korea, which is the firm’s second biggest presence after the UK, with £5 billion in revenues and 354 stores: it’s the second largest retailer in the country, and “closing in on the number one position” according to Tesco’s 2011 annual report.

According to KOTRA (the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) Tesco’s “Taste of Korea” promotion will bring 100 Korean food products to one of their Tesco Extra outlets. The location of this outlet? New Malden, home of the UK’s largest Korean community.

This is a strange choice of store. Anyone who wants to buy Korean food in New Malden will already be patronising the many Korean grocery stores there. A much more significant step would be to introduce one or two Korean product lines to Tesco stores across the country. Now that Nigella Lawson is proclaiming the usefulness of Gochujang in her latest cookbook, surely there must be a demand building up among Middle Englanders who do not have access to an oriental supermarket.


The Choson Ilbo has a photograph of the Tesco shelves stacked with an impressive collection of Korean foodstuffs:

Tesco Taste of Korea event
The Tesco Taste of Korea event in New Malden. Photo: Chosun Ilbo

4 thoughts on “Tesco to celebrate FTA by bringing kimchi to Koreatown

  1. Unbelievable. You are absolutely on the button: why go to a Tesco Express in New Malden, when Seoul Plaza, K-mart and the other stores are already there with a much larger range?

    Add Korean foodstuffs to Tesco “world food” aisles around the UK, and I’ll be there. Sentiment: 10/10; execution and common-sense: 2/10 🙁

  2. To be fair, I haven’t heard Tesco’s side of the story. Their press office doesn’t seem to have an email contact address – you have to phone them during office hours which is a complete nuisance.

  3. Was in New Malden Tesco last night.
    Yuza, Quince and Ginseng “tea” is present, chapagetti and other Nongshim noodles, various seaweed sheets, largish bags of Korean rice, erm, my memory’s bogging down now. No kimchi on the shelves – I suppose it must be in the fridges if it’s there at all. Can’t remember any gochujang either!

    1. Thanks for the info.
      No gochujang?
      I wasn’t necessarily expecting the kimchi. I just put it in the title as it gave an opportunity for an alliterative “Coals to Newcastle” equivalent.

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