SEJONG, Nov.12 (Korea Bizwire) – Koreans have turned out to be the biggest consumers of instant ramen noodles in the world, feasting on an average of 76 packs of instant ramen noodles every year.
Despite the declining growth of the domestic noodle industry, the ramen market has continued to expand, reaching a $180 million export surplus.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation reported the results of a new study in a paper called ‘Status of Processed Foods – Noodles Segmentation, 2015′. The report reveals that the quantity of noodles consumed by Koreans was an average of 13.3kg per person every year.
Breaking down the numbers, the researchers found that 9,153 grams of the consumed noodles consisted of ramen, representing 69 percent of total consumption.
Given that one bag of ramen weighs 120 grams, it can be deduced that Koreans consumed an average of 76 bags every year. This is much higher than Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam (55.1 bags), Indonesia (52.8 bags), and Thailand (45.3 bags), where noodles are a staple food.
The average consumption of ramen per person was 8,035 grams in 2010, increasing by 13.9 percent in 2014 to 9,153 grams. On the other hand, the consumption of ordinary noodles slid by 6.3 percent, from 4,393 grams to 4,116 grams.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs conducted a survey on 500 people between the ages of 10 to 40 who purchased ramen. The younger respondents preferred instant cup ramen, and the preference changed to ramen in packages as the age of the respondents went up.
The survey also revealed that older individuals, married people rather than single people, and larger families with more members consumed ordinary noodles more frequently.
In 2014, the size of the ramen market was 1.9 trillion won, while the market for ordinary noodles was only 159 billion won. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs believes that the increase in ramen sales results from an increase in the number of single person households, and people who go out boosted preference for convenient food.
Observing the characteristics of the ramen market this year, it was noted that ramen with thicker noodles or ramen noodles that have the texture of pasta have been launched. After ramen with red broth, ramen with white broth became popular, and it was eventually replaced by ramen with no broth at all, as companies in the industry thought that it was meaningless to compete through differences in broth. So they moved on to differentiating the noodles.
While Koreans’ love for ramen is the deepest in the world, ramen also rose to be a leading export. Among the $320 million representing total sales of noodles, 65.1 percent ($208 million) went to ramen.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)