South Korea’s exports of ramen or instant noodles totaled US$311.84 million from January to September this year, up 13.3% from a year ago.
This is the first time that ramen exports for the first three quarters topped US$300 million. During the same period, South Korea’s ramen imports stood at US$2.99 million.
The popularity of South Korean ramen has skyrocketed worldwide since 2016. Ramen exports topped US$200 million for the first time in 2012 and have posted an average annual growth rate of 30% since 2016. Last year, the amount was US$380.99 million in total.
This year’s total exports are estimated to top US$400 million with sales in China recovering. Ramen exports from South Korea to China, the largest export destination for South Korean instant noodles, totaled US$73.69 million from January to September, up 7.3% from a year earlier.
“These days, South Korean ramen manufacturers are exporting more and more to not only the United States and China but also Southeast Asia, Europe, Oceania, and other parts of the world,” said an industry source, adding, “It seems that the unique taste of South Korean ramen is attracting more and more global consumers.