SEOUL, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- North Koreans now have wider range of snacks to choose from thanks to improved electricity supply, according to a refugee from Pyongyang, South Korean media reported.
"Snacks were packaged in a plastic bag before, but now they were vacuum-packaged with more snack choices," a defector was quoted as saying in a Joongang Ilbo report.
Only 10 percent of North Korean factories were in operation in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the country was hit hard by famine and resource shortages, according to the report. The situation improved as the North increased electricity supply for factories and civil usage, resulting in more than 40 percent of factories resume operation.
In 2014 and 2015, North Korea constructed food factories in Pyongyang to produce a variety of foods, including bread, snacks, candies, beer and ham, KBS reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set improving lifestyle of North Koreans a priority in the North's ruling Worker's Party convention in 2015.
North Korea also began to make a variety of flavors for ice cream bars.
An ice cream advertisement catalog, date April this year, shows chocolate, strawberry and lemon flavors for Eskimo ice cream bars and ice cream cones available in milk, chocolate and strawberry flavors. The catalog also promotes energy drinks and vacuum-packaged spicy chicken feet.
"Due to shortage in resources, people suffered from food shortages in the early 2000s. But as factories resume operation, people now have wider food choices," another defector said in the report.