February 21, 2024

Once lush with products, North Korean supermarkets are now barren and deceptive

Photos obtained by NK News show scarce food items and products that don’t look anything like what’s advertised

Supermarket shelves in Pyongyang are sparse and prices are sharply on the rise, sources told NK News — another sign of North Korea’s struggles as it maintains a strict COVID-19 border lockdown.

Late last year in November, NK News reported that product selection at multiple stores in the North Korean capital was diminishing. Now, in January, sources said that key store items like cooking oil, sugar and toothpaste are almost completely gone, while prices for domestically-sourced fruit and vegetables are rapidly increasing at one of the city’s biggest markets. This suggests that local suppliers are struggling to make up for the dramatic decline in imported food.