South Korean instant noodle exports soar 28% this year amid pandemic

by BERNAMA / pic by Yonhap news

SEOUL – South Korean exports of instant noodles jumped more than 28% in the first 11 months of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.

Overseas shipments of instant noodles, or “ramyeon” in Korean, came to US$549.72 million in the January-November period, up 28.4% from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and industry players.

It was well above last year’s total exports of US$467 million, Yonhap news agency reported.

The surge was ascribed to the global popularity of Korean-made instant noodles as an emergency food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that forced people to stay home.

Also responsible was strong overseas shipments of Chapaguri, a signature noodle dish from the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and a mixture of Chapaghetti, instant black bean noodles, and Neoguri, spicy Korean udon-like noodles.

China was the largest overseas market in the 11-month period, with exports reaching US$138.56 million, or 25.2 per cent of the total.

The United States came next with US$72.84 million, followed by Japan with US$44.98 million, Thailand with US$24.66 million and the Philippines with US$22.37 million.

South Korea’s instant noodle exports came to US$470 million last year, up from US$410 million in 2018 and US$380 million in 2017.

If the 11-month performance is any guide, overseas shipments of ramyeon are widely expected to hit a new record high and well exceed the US$600 million mark, industry watchers said.

In light of instant noodles manufactured and sold by South Korea food firms overseas, global ramyeon consumption is much higher than the export tally, they added. –BERNAMA