Games up midnight snack consumption
By Kim Rahn
Families and friends are gathering at night to watch the Olympics, taking place in London which is eight hours behind Korea.
This time difference is leading to increased snacking _ often in the form of a box of chicken and cold beer. And the sales figures back this up.
Sports fans watching the events have midnight snacks in advance during daytime or by ordering food delivery.
“On the day when Park Tae-hwan’s 400-meter freestyle took place, I prepared some chips and two six-packs of beer with three of my friends who came to my house overnight to cheer him on,” 31-year-old office worker Lee Jin-hyuk said.
“When we thought he was disqualified, they said they would go home, after having only one can of beer each. But as Park was reinstated, they stayed and we ordered chicken and ‘jokbal’ (soy-braised pig feet), cheered him madly, emptied all 12 cans and later went to a convenience store to buy more beer,” he said.
Many people did the same. Retail giant E-Mart said compared to an average day, sales of beer jumped 3.2-fold last Thursday when Korea played a football match against Mexico.
People also bought 2.5-times more chicken and three to five times more other snacks from E-Mart stores.
Lotte Mart also saw sales rise by about 30 percent for favorite midnight snack items between Thursday and Saturday. Sales of beer hiked 56.8 percent from the previous week; that of chicken, by 37.2 percent; and that of dried squid, 33.9 percent.
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven said the total sales of its outlets located in residential areas rose by 11.3 between 10 p.m. on Friday to 4 a.m. the next day when the Olympic opening ceremony was held, with beer the most-sold item.
Mom-and-pop outlets selling chicken or other popular snacks are also enjoying a rush of orders. Fried chicken places usually close around midnight but some have extended operation hours to 2 or 3 a.m.
“From last week, we are open until 3 a.m. while we used to finish at 1 a.m. We are receiving so many orders and we have hired two more delivery boys, from the previous three,” said an owner of a “bossam” (boiled pork wrapped with kimchi) restaurant in western Seoul.
The delivery orders late at night have also partly resulted from the sultry weather, because in difficulty getting asleep, many people stay up late and sometimes order food.