Top consumption countries: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia
Korea ranks 8th after the United States and the Philippines.
As prices rise worldwide, ramen consumption is rapidly increasing. It was calculated that 121.2 billion bowls of ramen were eaten in about 50 countries last year.
On the 20th (local time), the British Guardian reported that the middle class in each country, whose cost of living has increased due to inflation, is increasing their consumption of ramen.
The country where people ate the most ramen was China, followed by Hong Kong and Indonesia. Vietnam and Japan ranked 4th and 5th, and Korea was the country with the 8th highest ramen consumption, following the United States and the Philippines.
The Guardian particularly paid attention to the fact that India ranked third. This is because it indicates that the popularity of ramen is increasing even in countries where the culture of eating ramen is not familiar.
In Mexico, demand for ramen increased by 17.2% in 2021 and grew by 11% last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was virtually over. In the United States, an increasing number of people are eating instant ramen to ease the burden of living expenses.
Japanese ramen company Nissin Foods decided to invest $228 million (about 294.8 billion won) in building a new production plant in South Carolina, USA, and expanding the size of existing plants in California and Pennsylvania. “Sales are increasing every year,” said Michael Price, CEO of Nissin Foods in the U.S. “In particular, over the past five years, demand for our products has increased like never before.”
Toyo Fisheries, a rival food company, also recently announced that it would build production facilities in the United States and Mexico by 2025 to meet rapidly increasing demand. The company said, “The number of consumers who eat ramen on a regular basis is increasing, and we will introduce a variety of flavors.” The world’s first instant ramen was ‘Chicken Ramen’, which Nissin Foods founder Momofuku Ando put on the market in August 1958.
Ramen is experiencing inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic and is becoming a true ‘global food.’ Ramen products targeting local tastes were released one after another, such as halal versions in countries with many Muslims, such as Indonesia, and adding the spice garam masala in India. The ramen market is expected to grow further in the future, especially in India, Africa, and Asian countries where the young population is rapidly increasing.
Korean ramen is also selling like crazy overseas. According to Korea Customs Service trade statistics, ramen exports from January to October this year amounted to $785.25 million, an increase of 24.7% compared to the same period last year.