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Beyond Asia: Coronavirus Renews Interest in K-food Globally

September 2020

K-food is ready to spread across global markets beyond Asia thanks to the Oscar-awarded movie, Parasite, which featured Korean instant noodles. In addition, during lockdowns, instant noodles benefited from stockpiling. There was also increased interest in being healthy which brought attention to Korean healthy food such as Kimchi, re-positioned in the US and European markets. By developing global e-commerce channels, K-food looks forward to having further opportunities beyond Asia.

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Key Findings

Appearance in award-winning movie impacts food industry. Parasite was a trigger for the popularity of K-food

K-food is ready to spread across the global market beyond Asia. The Oscar-awarded movie Parasite (2019) showed a scene with actors eating Korean brands of instant noodles. Following manufacturers’ marketing activities linked to the brand and the movie, they successfully attracted global consumers who associated instant noodles with K-food culture. In addition, social media also encouraged globally connected consumers to be interested in K-food.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to boom in instant noodles in global market due to stockpiling, which benefits Korean brands

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers stockpiled food to endure the lockdowns. Instant noodles benefited as a convenient and shelf stable meal option. Nong Shim capitalised on this opportunity in the US and beyond Asian markets by strengthening its premium healthy version of instant noodles.

South Korea, as the role model country for dealing with COVID-19, also positively affected the reputation of Korean healthy foods

South Korea is considered one of the countries to have responded to the pandemic most effectively. This has helped to spotlight some of the healthy foods that are part of Korean tradition and that could have helped to boost immunity, such as fermented Korean food, Kimchi. Korean players have taken this opportunity to develop awareness about Kimchi in the global market beyond Asia.

K-food is looking for new distribution strategies through the e-commerce channel in the global market

Online grocery shopping in South Korea is the most developed in the world with advanced delivery systems. Based on greater know-how, K-food manufacturers and the Korean government are developing e-commerce channels in countries beyond Asia. Korean sellers actively target Amazon to let global consumers know not only about K-food, but also Korean food culture.


Key findings

Culture and Social Media Cultivate Local Food to go Global

Proudly Local, Going Global is one of key trends in 2020
How local food can spread around the world
Popular movies as key platforms for local food to be known elsewhere
Significant impact of social media on local food moving global

Instant noodles: A K-food icon for global consumers

Korean instant noodles, Ram-don shown in Parasite hit the world market

Instant Noodles: A K-food Icon for Global Consumers

Nong Shim benefited from Oscar-winning movie Parasite
Other Korean instant noodle brands also expand across the globe
Fire Chicken Noodle considered as the origin of K-food to the world

The Impact of COVID-19 on K-food

Noodles benefit from stockpiling effect during global lockdowns
Healthier options of instant noodles attract the US market
Targeting lockdown period, showing eye-catching K-food advertising
COVID-19 drives global consumers to be interested in healthy K-food
Pulmuone develops US market with “Made in Korea” Kimchi
Virtual travel during COVID-19 era could bring opportunities for K-food

K-food Develops via Global E-commerce

K-food has its own section via collaboration with Asian local e-commerce
Amazon.com is a new stage for K-food to spread beyond Asia

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways


About Via Online Tracking from Euromonitor International


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