Izzy, just adding delicacies from the mountains will make it a health food, right?”
High-end ramen, which is said to be more expensive than regular ramen but has better taste and quality, has fallen into a difficult situation once again.
Deputy Prime Minister for Economy and Minister of Strategy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho said on the 18th, “In September and October of last year, (ramen prices) increased a lot, but the current international wheat price has fallen by around 50% from then.” I hope the price of ramen is lowered.”
As soon as the minister’s remarks came out, the stock price of the ramen company fell sharply. On the 19th, Samyang Foods, famous for Samyang Ramen and Hot Chicken Stir-fried Noodles, closed at 105,400 won, down 8,900 won (7.79%) from the previous day.
Nongshim, famous for Shin Ramyun, closed the transaction at 411,500 won, down 6.05%, and Ottogi, which makes Jin Ramyun, at 428,500 won, down 2.94%.
This is similar to the atmosphere in 2011, 12 years ago. Even at the time of the Lee Myung-bak administration, there was a time when the price of ramen, a representative food for the common people, was reduced because of the rapid rise in prices for the common people. Accordingly, food companies lowered the price of ramen by 20 to 50 won.
But in fact, the biggest hit at the time was the high-end ramen that food companies ambitiously put out. In 2011, the price of regular ramen was lowered due to government pressure, and after some time, the price was raised again, but in the case of high-end ramen, production in the domestic market has come to a halt.
A typical example is Nongshim’s ‘Shin Ramyun Black스포츠토토‘. In April 2011, Nongshim launched Shin Ramyun Black with an advertising slogan, ‘Beef Bone Health Restaurant’. The price of ramen is 1,600 won per piece, which is 2.3 times higher than the price of Shin Ramyun.
Reviews at the time were not good. It has a deeper and savory taste than regular ramen, but with the addition of beef bone powder soup and a little more ingredients, it was asked if it could be called a health food. Controversy arose over the hype.
There was also an interpretation that it was a trick to raise the price of regular ramen. It means that the strategy is to remove the price resistance line for ramen by launching high-end ramen and raise the unit price of ramen by raising the price of ramen for the common people.
Shin Ramyun Black ended up discontinuing domestic production four months after its launch as the social atmosphere overlapped with consumers turning away. After a positive response from overseas, production was resumed after 1 year and 2 months in September 2012, but due to the wrong timing, it was a cold meal.
In 2021, Harim’s ambitious ‘Dummy Artisan Ramen’ is the same as Shin Ramyun Black at the time in two ways.
First of all, it did not elicit as much consumer response as expected, and it was a time when the burden of inflation increased.
According to market researcher Nielsen IQ Korea, Harim’s dummy-style ramen did not make it into the top 20 for ramen sales last year. In the food industry, the actual share of dummy-style artisanal ramen is less than 1%.
The price of a bag of dummy-style artisanal ramen is 2,200 won. It is 2-3 times the price of Shin Ramyun or Jin Ramyun. Harim Industrial recorded an operating loss of 86.7 billion won last year due to the sluggish performance of the dummy type.
However, Harim Group will not give up the dummy food brand. This is because they have already invested 520 billion won in building the Harim Food Complex in Iksan, Jeonbuk for the ramen business, and above all, Harim Group Chairman Kim Hong-guk is putting special affection into this business.
Chairman Kim said at a press conference at the time, while cooking ramen himself, “About 7 years ago, his youngest daughter suffered atopic symptoms after eating ramen sold on the market. From then on, he had the idea to make healthy ramen minus artificial seasonings,” he explained about the background of product development.
Among experts, there is a reaction that is regrettable. This is because it is often discontinued if market share does not reach a certain level in a short period of time after launch. It is also a pity among food lovers that high-end ramen, which will raise the level of ramen, may disappear due to the atmosphere of the times.
Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumer studies at Inha University, said, “Ramen is something you eat when you don’t want to cook or skip a meal, so it’s not easy to take on a high-class image by itself.”
He said, “The strategy of improving the taste and quality of convenience foods can be effective in targeting the niche market, but the timing is not good, so there is a high possibility of going through trial and error like Shin Ramyun Black.”
In the era of inflation, high-end ramen has become more obscure than ordinary ramen. I look forward to safely going through the thorny road that will unfold in the future.