It is a poster of “Unnies Without Appetite.”
/Photography extracted from Sandbox
“I do not think I can finish it alone,” producer Code Kunst says worriedly while looking at the hamburger, and after a hard bite, he comes up with a discouraging comment, “it is okay. Coke is delicious.” This is the content of an advertisement video recently released by a fast-food brand. Code Kunst is considered one of the leading light eaters in the entertainment industry. He succeeded in differentiating himself by setting up a model for the food advertisement, only portraying eating well and displaying the appearance of eating hamburgers calmly. Interest in being a “light eater” is increasing after a celebrity posted on YouTube in which they said they were full after a couple of small snacks and a piece of chicken. As if reflecting this interest, eating contents and videos of the daily life of a “light eater” are gaining much popularity. At the same time, people who had to be self-conscious about light eating are now confidently saying that they are light eaters and there is also a light eater craze among ordinary consumers. Therefore, the Dongguk Post would like to find out why light eating is becoming a hot topic and a trend and reveal some examples of the distribution industry that is changing into a new trend.
Light eating is trending now
“Light eater” is a new expression that means a person who eats less than others and is a combination of “eat little” and “main seat.” The light eater craze began a year ago in the broadcasting industry. And there are some representative light eaters, including broadcasters Sandara Park and Park So-hyun. The video of their daily lives, “Video Star Mukbang Collection (4 years’ worth) with Park So-hyun and Sandara Park,” was very popular. Thanks to its popularity, the web entertainment show “Unnies Who Do Not Like Food” is airing, and the distribution industry is also scrambling to release light eater-related products that have reduced the amount to one serving.
The reason for the popularity of light eating is similar to the shock felt by the early Mukbang craze. In the past, the public was enthusiastic about bingeeating, with people eating dozens of servings of food, but they have now turned to extreme news that “eat as much as an ant.” People increasingly felt tired from Mukbang YouTubers’ excessive consumption of food. Though the existing eating trend was for contents that showed people eating a large amount of food quickly becane popular, the light eater trend has gained public sympathy by coming fresh to the public with new contents that can consider the comfort, health, and economic aspects of viewers.
In addition, the recent consumption pattern of saving among the MZ generation has continued, and as the proportion of single-person households has increased, the number of distribution industries introducing small-capacity, small-packaged foods have also risen. In line with these changes in consumption trends, light eaters began to draw attention.
Furthermore, these days, both companies and consumers have increased interest in eco-friendly lives such as Zero Waste, upcycling, and eco-friendly campaigns. Light eaters are interested in environmental issues and food shortages, and light eating is thought to provide an experience that allows individuals to contribute positively to the environment as well as improve health.
The distribution industry changes due to the light eater
Recently, the food industry is also transforming rapidly in line with the light eater topic. As interest in health increases and the aftermath of inflation continues, the number of consumers who prefer light eating is steadily increasing. In line with this trend, the distribution industry is launching a variety of products for consumers.
First, two types of “light eater lunch boxes” released by GS25 are popular with young customers, and more than 30,000 have been sold in a month since its launch. Following this, two additional types of “petty cup rice” were released, increasing the number of foods for the light eater to four. Both additional types of food, which were released, are about 200g, which is less than half the weight of the existing lunch box menu, and the price is about the same as a line of kimbap as the weight is lowered. It is said that it is a product that is not burdensome for the younger generation to eat because it is also cheap. Not only lunch boxes but also cup noodles have been released for the news desk. Paldo launched the “Mini Gomtang King Ttukkeong” for light eaters who want to enjoy ramen in small amounts. Not only is it reduced from 100g of the existing king lid to 80g, but it also has the savory and rich taste of beef bone soup, typically consumed by those who have difficulty with spicy flavors. In addition to this, Paldo plans to expand its small-capacity products to cope with market trends that prefer small-capacity products.
In addition, the convenience store industry is releasing small-capacity alcoholic beverages in line with the increase in single-person households. Several convenience stores, including CU and E-Mart 24, have released alcoholic beverages for people who drink alone and cut the price by half. Distribution industry officials say that small-capacity products are gaining popularity as more single-person households and light eating becomes a trend. Various products will be released to reflect the consumption habits of the MZ generation who enjoy light eating and value consumption. Kim Eun-seong (Department of Business Administration 22), who lives alone and often uses food for the light eater, said, “I used to eat alone or in small portions, but there are a lot of foods for the light eater, so it is good to have less food waste.”
There have always been people around us who eat less, but they have been outsiders in the existing binge-eating, big-eating trends. The appearance of light eating has given them a method to express themselves. The light eater trend goes beyond simply being a new and fun attraction, suggesting that our food culture, which has been for large consumption, has changed to embrace more diverse eating habits. In the past, eating less, which was evaluated as a disadvantage, has now become a unique characteristic. Thinking about the attitude of respecting others’ individuality is the core of this light-eating trend. Therefore, in the future, products and services should be released, aiming at consumers who know how to enjoy an impactful meal even if they eat a little should be released.
Jung Ji-yeon email@example.com