South Korea’s ramen exports on track to reach $1 billion in 2024


South Korea is anticipating breaking the $1 billion milestone for its ramen exports in 2024 after witnessing another record-breaking shipment month in February.

Key points:

  • South Korea reported a record-breaking 31.5% increase, amounting to $92.97 million, in the export of Korean ramen, also known as ramyun, in February compared to the same month in 2023, the country’s Korea Customs Service announced on Thursday. The February export broke the $90.78 million record set in November 2023.

  • As for the volume, the customs service noted a 23,000-ton export of ramyun in February, reflecting a 20% increase from the same month in 2023.

  • In terms of annual exports, South Korea reported $952.4 million in ramen exports in 2023.

  • South Korea projects it will reach the $1 billion milestone in 2024, considering the country’s continuous record-breaking exports of ramen products since reaching $220 million in 2015.

The details:

  • The United States ranked as the largest overseas market South Korea has exported to in February, amounting to $19.8 million. It was followed by China ($15.2 million), the Netherlands ($6 million), Japan ($5.5 million) and Malaysia ($4.7 million)

  • The surge in popularity of Korean ramen can be attributed to its frequent appearances in various K-dramas and films. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic further bolstered sales and exports of ramyun overseas.

  • K-pop also contributed significantly to the surge in ramyun's popularity overseas. A notable example is when BTS member Jimin was seen with red lips and teary eyes after eating Samyang Foods’ “Hot Chicken Stir-Fried Ramen,” also known as the fire noodles, during a livestream.

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  • One of the most popular brands of Korean ramen is Samyang Foods, which experienced a 34% increase year-on-year in overseas sales, reaching 809.3 billion won ($602 million) in 2023, the company announced on Thursday.

  • This marked Samyang’s fifth consecutive year of record-breaking performance in overseas sales and the first time Samyang Foods surpassed the 800 billion won mark.

  • China and the United States were Samyang Foods’ largest markets, making up about $166.7 million and $122 million sales, respectively, last year.


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