South Korea turns to rice flour as wheat hit by inflation and supply chain challenges

The turmoil in Russia and Ukraine has caused rising global concerns of wheat shortage – as together both markets make up roughly a quarter of global wheat supply – and this situation has been further exacerbated by wheat export bans being implemented in some major producing wheat markets like India .

While many countries have not had much choice other than to look for alternative wheat sources or succumb to higher prices, South Korea is looking at a more innovative way of plugging this gap whilst building up its wheat supply – by turning to rice flour as a substitute .

This initiative was announced by the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) recently, likely in hopes of keeping public spirits up and providing reassurance during the upcoming Chuseok (Mid-Autumn) festive season in mid-September, as this is one of the nation’s largest festive events.

“Rice flour is very favorable as a substitute for wheat flour [as] it has a dense starch structure and is not easily broken whilst processing – we will thus be activating rice flour to replace 10% of the demand for imported wheat flour by 2027,”​ MAFRA Minister Jeong Hwang-geun said via a formal statement.

“To do this, MAFRA will draw up plans to establish a stable processing, distribution and consumption system in co-operation with the food industry, whilst also supporting the development of more suitable varieties, providing support for cultivation technology, and creating specialized production complexes to meet demand.


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