The export value of South Korean ramen for the first half of 2023 hit a record high amid the increased global demand for Korean products.
K-ramen boom: According to quasi-government agency Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, instant ramen exports for the first half of this year tallied in at an all-time high of $446.2 million, a 16.4% increase from a year ago.
Although the nation’s ramen exports have been breaking records since 2015, ramen particularly gained global popularity and sales in 2020, wherein Korea saw a 37.3% increase in its semi-annual exports of the instant noodles.
K-wave: The increase in export value is attributed to the demand of instant food during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the rise of the “Korean wave,” or hallyu, the global popularity of South Korea’s popular culture, including films, music and entertainment.
Last year, BTS’s Jin became a spokesperson for the instant noodle brand Jin Ramen. In 2019, Chapaghetti and Neoguri — products of South Korea’s top ramen seller Nongshim — were featured in the award-winning film “Parasite.”
The U.S. subsidiary: According to Nongshim, more than half of its profits came from the U.S. during the first quarter, with a 604.7% increase compared to last year.
“Following the bolstered demand for K-ramen in the overseas market and the saturated market for ramen here, Korean ramen companies are unanimously looking to expand their businesses in overseas markets,” an official from a local ramen manufacturing company told The Investor.
“Like Nongshim, which is thinking of setting up another production facility in the U.S., Korean ramen firms are going all out to propel their global ramen businesses, by securing overseas production facilities and supply systems,” he added.