South Korea’s instant noodle makers are forecast to strengthen their overseas marketing. In the domestic market, they have reached the limits to growth and are facing a drop in population. However, there is a growing demand for Korean food in foreign markets.
The country’s top ramen maker Nongshim exported US$59 million (about 70 billion won) worth of ramen to Japan last year. Japan is known as the inventor of the instant noodle. Southeast Asia is the company’s next largest importer with US$38 million (about 44 billion won). The food company is expected to see its sales growing in the Americas from this year as it has intensified its marketing drive there.
Nongshim has been making efforts to establish a local production system in the United States. Early next year, it will begin to build its second plant in Corona, California, on a site of 154,000 square meters.
With its first factory in Los Angeles, the food and beverage company has sustained double-digit growth in the Americas in recent years. As people are getting more interested in healthy food in the United States, it expects demand for dry noodles and uncooked noodles to grow sharply in the future.
Nongshim has been putting much emphasis on localization. It sells six kinds of cup ramen in the U.S. market, which is more than the two in the domestic market. The company took into account the tendency of U.S. consumers to use microwaves more frequently and pursue more convenience.
The food company sells kimchi ramen in China. In Korea, people do not need to buy kimchi ramen because they have kimchi at their home, but this is not the case in foreign countries, including China.
Nongshim racked up 7 million yuan (about 1.1 billion won) a day in online sales during China’s biggest shopping festival in September, up 40 percent from a year ago. Its best-selling products included eight popular items such as “Shin Ramyun,” “Ansungtangmyun,” “Kimchi Ramyun.”