Nongshim's newly-rolled-out instant “jajang” ramen, named Jjawang, chalked up 10 billion won (US$8.7 million) of sales in May. Jajang is the name of a black savory bean sauce that is used in a popular Chinese Korean dish called “jajangmyeon.” Since its launch on April 20, the product has been selling extremely well, marking a stark contrast against the steadily declining sales of general ramen. Jjawang has been receiving praise for its thick chewy noodles and rich flavor.
As Jjawang gets more popular in all channels ranging from giant retail outlets to convenience stores, the market share of Nongshim also increases. The market share of Nongshim in March was recorded at 59.1 percent, but in May the share reached 61.5 percent.
According to a spokesman for Nongshim, the company focused on recreating the traditional taste of jajangmyeon rather than creating a whole new taste.
Nongshim expects that Jjawang will join the 100 billion won club in the ramen market. Only four instant noodle products are members of that club ― Shin Ramyun, Neoguri, Jjapaghetti, and Ansungtangmyun.
As Jjawang changed the landscape of the instant noodle market, second market leader Ottogi recently launched its own version of premium jajang ramen named “Jin Jjajang. Jin Jjajang has the taste of jajang ramen cooked over a fire. Made with pork and ginger, the ramen has a savory taste. It differentiates itself from Jjawang by using a liquid base for the soup rather than powder, to keep a deeper flavor. Jin Jjajang offers large-sized beef-favored flakes that add the taste.
The price of Jin Jjajang is 1,300 won (US$1.13) per pack, 200 won cheaper than Jjawang, which is priced at 1,500 won (US$1.30).