Noodle makers beef up overseas promotions

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Noodle makers beef up overseas promotions

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Ramyeon, Korean instant noodles, are gaining popularity overseas, adding to the Korean cultural wave. The nation’s noodle makers are devising strategies to attract even more foreign noodle-lovers.

Sales of ramyeon in the first half of the year reached $123 million, an 18.3 percent year-on-year boost, the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) said Friday. By export volume, the growth is even larger, 29.5 percent, supplying more than 33,300 tons of noodles abroad.

Neighboring China was the biggest buyer of Korean noodles, accounting for 19.1 percent of total export sales revenue. Sales to the mainland skyrocketed to $23.5 million, a 48.2 percent jump over the previous year. China is a huge market for sales as the country consumes 44.4 billion servings of noodles a day.

The United States bought $18.1 million worth of Korean noodles, making it the second largest buyer, followed by Japan, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong.

Malaysia was first in export growth, growing a whopping 95.4 percent followed by Singapore with 52.3 percent.

Ramyeon is popular, in part, because it’s easy to prepare. It is also inexpensive, making it ideal for busy workers and budget-conscious students. As demand overseas soars while domestic markets are saturated with local competitors, Korean noodle makers are focusing on strengthening their marketing in global markets.

Nong Shim, the nation’s largest ramyeon maker, will focus on developing a second product that it hopes will succeed the popularity of its flagship Shin Ramyun, the most popular brand in Korea. Shin Ramyun, whose main ingredients are beef and seasoned red-pepper sauce, also has been a steady seller in China, Japan and the United States.

Overseas sales increased 13 percent year-on-year, earning more than $30 million in revenue during the first half of this year, the company said Wednesday.

“We will strengthen promotion for Shin Ramyun on overseas distribution channels marking the 30th year of its release and also foster other noodle products such as kimchi ramyun, soon veggie ramyun and potato noodles so they could be our next flagship products,” a spokesperson from Nong Shim said.

The company sold more than $126 million in noodles in Chinese markets, a 16.6 percent increase. It strengthened marketing in inland China while also expanding online sales.

Nong Shim has also been focusing on diverse marketing activities abroad. In Japan, where sales of Nong Shim noodles jumped 29.4 percent, the company rolled out an aggressive marketing campaign, including tasting events of Shin Ramyun throughout the country. In the United States where sales grew 12.9 percent to $85.71 million, the company targeted Asian markets and large retail chains.

“We are putting both English and Korean labels on Shin Ramyun and kimchi ramyun for foreign customers to easily recognize that the noodles are Korean-branded products,” the Nong Shim spokesperson said. “Also we plan to expand our overseas targets to countries with diverse cultural backgrounds as our soon veggie ramyun has earned a vegan product certification.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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