Red ramen vs. white ramen
Traditionally, the Korean instant ramen market was dominated by spicy, red pepper soup led by Nongshim’s No. 1 selling instant noodle, Shin Ramyun. But two new white soups are selling well in local discount chain stores across the country, industry sources said.
The two products are Yakult’s Kkokkomyeon chicken soup and Samyang Food’s Nagasaki Champong seafood soup.
Nongshim leads the local ramen market, and it is tailed by Samyang Food, Ottogi, and Yakult, in order.
Officials at a local discount chain said the Oct. 2 sales of Samyang’s Nagasaki Champong surpassed those of Nongshim’s Shin Ramyun by 22.7 percent for the first time since the product hit the shelves in early August. Nagasaki Champong is in second place in ramen sales.
Yakult’s Kkokkomyeon, which hit the shelves of discount chains at end of August, is seventh place in the discount chain.
Kkokkomyeon received media attention before it was actually released on the market. It was first cooked by comedian Lee Kyung-kyu for a ramen cooking contest on a KBS TV variety show “Qualifications of Men” in March.
When Lee’s Kkokkomyeon, named after the Korean sound of a rooster crowing, debuted, the broadcaster’s Web site was flooded with inquiries as to when Lee’s ramen would hit stores.
Yakult officials approached Lee about launching the product, and it is now sold at between 800 won ($0.69) and 850 won per packet at local discount chains.
“Over 450,000 packets of Kkokkomyeon are sold every day in October,” said Lee Seung-ki, a PR representative for Yakult. “We sold 13.5 million packets of Kkokkomyeon in September alone, and that’s up 34 percent from August sales of 9 million packets. Given that our flagship product Bimbimmyeon raises 30 billion won in sales annually, we believe Kkokkomyeon sales will surpass that figure by the end of this year.”
Consumers are struggling to obtain the two products due to manufacturers’ limited production capacity.
“It’s hard to buy the two products at a convenience store in my neighborhood because they sell fast after they arrive,” said Kim Min-ji, a 22-year old college student. “After failing three times, I eventually bought them on my fourth visit to the store.”
This has even led the two ramen makers to boost their production by running extra factory lines overnight.
Market watchers said Korean consumers who are used to stimulating their appetites with red spicy food turned to white soup because they wanted to try something different.
According to a September survey by Yakult of 500 consumers who consume ramen at least two times per week, 77 percent said they are attracted to the product because, while they enjoy the mildness of the product, they can also experience a little spice with the Cheongyang peppers in it.
Kim Jae-sung, a PR representative at Samyang Food, said Yakult’s Kkokkomyeon opened a new genre of Korean ramen that was once dominated by red pepper soup-based products, and this has attributed to a spike in sales of Samyang’s Nagasaki Champong.
“We sold 3 million packets of Nagasaki Champong in August totaling 2 billion won, and we sold 9 million packets of the product in September worth 6 billion won,” Kim said.
By Kim Mi-ju [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
하얀 국물의 반란 … 나가사끼 짬뽕, 1위 신라면 위협
“칼칼하고 담백한 맛 일품”
삼양, 출시 두 달 새 매출 2위
한국야쿠르트 꼬꼬면도 인기
라면업계에 하얀 국물의 반란이 시작됐다. 한국야쿠르트의 ‘꼬꼬면’, 삼양식품의 ‘나가사끼 짬뽕’ 같은 하얀 국물 라면이 말 그대로 불티나게 팔리면서 업계 부동의 1위 자리를 지켜온 신라면의 아성을 위협하고 있는 것이다.
한 대형마트에선 이달 들어 라면 상품 중 나가사끼 짬뽕의 매출액이 2위로 올라섰다. 지난 2일엔 하루 동안이지만 나가사끼짬뽕의 매출이 신라면을 능가하기도 했다. 이날 매출은 신라면에 비해 22.7% 더 많았다. 꼬꼬면 역시 지난 8월 중순 마트 판매를 시작했는데 한 달여 사이 매출 7위까지 치고 올라왔다.
하얀 국물 라면의 인기 비결은 뭘까. 한국야쿠르트 측은 “칼칼하고 담백한 맛”이라고 봤다. 지난달 월 2회 이상 라면을 먹는 500명을 상대로 조사를 벌인 결과 꼬꼬면을 먹어 본 199명 중 맛에 만족한 77%가 “칼칼한 맛과 담백한 맛 때문에 먹는다”고 대답한 것이다.
여성(73%)보다 남성(84%)의 만족도가 높은 것도 특징이다. 한국야쿠르트 측은 “인터넷 등에서 해장에 좋다고 입소문이 나면서 남성들 사이에서 반응이 좋다”고 설명했다.
이 조사에서 ‘꼬꼬면을 먹어 본 적이 없다’고 답한 사람들의 63%가 그 이유에 대해 “살 수가 없어서”라고 대답했다. 이들 중 89%는 “먹고 싶다”고 했다고 한다. 유통업계에서 생산만 충분히 된다면 하얀 국물 라면이 업계 판도를 바꿀 것이라고 보는 이유다.
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