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Bibigo dumplings joins list of top food exports

Apr 01,2019
K-pop stars are not the only Korean export making waves overseas. Korean food is also taking foreign markets by storm.

Overseas sales of CJ CheilJedang’s Bibigo dumplings, Nongshim’s Shin Ramyun and Orion’s Choco Pie all hit 300 billion won ($270 million) last year.

The 300-billion-won sales mark isn’t new for Choco Pie, but is a groundbreaking achievement for Bibigo dumplings and Shin Ramyun.

According to the food industry on Sunday, sales of CJ’s dumplings demonstrated the most rapid growth, reaching 342 billion won, a 42.5-percent jump from 240 billion won the previous year. Choco Pie followed with 332 billion won, a 9-percent year-on-year increase, while sales of Shin Ramyun shot up 17 percent to 310 billion won from 265 billion won a year before.

Choco Pie and Shin Ramyun have been steady sellers abroad, with particular popularity in Asian countries like China and Vietnam.

Choco Pie has already hit the 300-billion-won mark from overseas sales as far back as 2012. Though its sales in China temporarily fell in 2017 when Korean firms were targeted by Beijing following Seoul’s deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system, the snack’s growth gradually recovered last year. Global sales of Choco Pie hit 5 trillion won last week.

But the skyrocketing sales of Bibigo dumplings comes as a surprise.

On the year Bibigo dumplings was launched abroad in 2015, it raised 124 billion won in sales. The following year, it sold 166 billion won, which dramatically rose to 240 billion won in 2017.

Its sales in the United States last year were most notable with 240 billion won, more than twice the 100 billion won a year earlier. The dumplings’ sales in Vietnam also recorded 30 percent on-year growth to 20 billion won last year. The product is also popular in China, hitting 50 billion won last year from 7 billion won in 2015.

Sales of Shin Ramyun in the United States saw a 34 percent on-year growth last year. The market share of Nongshim’s products in the U.S. noodle market shot up to 15 percent last year from 2 percent a decade ago, largely thanks to the product’s availability at major U.S. retailers like Walmart, Costco and Kroger.

Nongshim now ranks a distant third after Japan’s Toyo Suisan, known for Maruchan Seimen Soy Sauce Cup Ramen, with 46 percent of the market, and Nissin, known for Raoh Kojuku Koku Miso, at 30 percent.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]


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