The export value of ramen from South Korea has reached a historic high, surpassing US$500 million in the first half of this year. The success can be attributed to the rising popularity of Korean content, such as dramas and movies, which have increased global interest in Korean ramen. According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation and the Customs Service, ramen exports from January to July amounted to US$522,029,000, a significant increase of 17.7% compared to the same period last year. With last year's ramen export revenue of US$765.43 million, it is possible that this year may even reach the US$1 billion mark.
The demand for Korean ramen overseas has been fueled by the exposure it receives in Korean movies, TV variety shows, and social media. Scenes of characters consuming ramen in popular Korean movies and dramas, such as the "Jjapaguri" featured in the movie Parasite, have amplified global interest in the product. Nongshim, a major ramen brand, stated that Korean ramen has gained significant attention as Korean culture gains traction globally. The Academy Award win of Parasite in 2020 and the influence of BTS, known as the "BTS effect," have further accelerated the growth of Korean ramen.
In addition to the influence of Korean content, the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the growing demand for Korean ramen. As convenience food continues to be a trend during the pandemic, Korean ramen offers a fulfilling meal concept that provides rich flavor, ample nutrition, and promotes Korean food culture. The convenience and taste of Korean ramen have made it an attractive choice for consumers around the world.