SEOUL, June 16 (Korea Bizwire) — Korean-made instant noodles, or “ramyeon” in Korean, are gaining a stronger foothold in Japan, the country that claims to have invented the world’s first instant noodle.
South Korea recorded a surplus of $21.1 million in its instant noodle trade with Japan in the first four months of this year, up 21 percent from US$17.4 million a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Office.
Even on an annual basis, South Korea’s instant noodle trade surplus with Japan stood at $53.3 million last year, up 65 percent from $32.2 million a year before.
The primary factor behind the surge in South Korea’s instant noodle trade surplus with Japan is the expansion of the Japanese instant noodle market, which led to the increase in Japan’s imports of Korean-made instant noodles.
According to a report from the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, the value of the instant noodles distributed in Japan totaled 630.7 billion yen last year, up 6.1 percent year on year.
The share of Korean-made instant noodles in Japan’s overall instant noodle imports rose to 74 percent last year from 69 percent in 2019.
Another factor is the shift in the attention of the Japanese instant noodle market from cup ramyeon to bongji ramyeon (ramyeon in the bag) with people spending more time at home due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bongji ramyeon has a higher share among Korean-made instant noodles.
In the Japanese instant noodle market, cup ramyeon and bongji ramyeon are selling in a ratio of 7:3 in general. However, the ratio changed to 6.5:3.5 last year.
The difference of 5 percentage points looks small, but in terms of shipments of bongji ramyeon, it means an increase of more than 300 million bags.
J. S. Shin (email@example.com)