Korean spicy sauces gain global popularity

By Candice Kim Posted : May 17, 2024, 14:45 Updated : May 20, 2024, 16:40
Samyang’s Buldak Bokkeummyun ramen displayed on a supermarket shelve Yonhap
Samyang’s Buldak Bokkeummyun ramen displayed on a supermarket shelve. Yonhap
SEOUL, May 17 (AJU PRESS) – Fueled by the popularity of Korean foods like ramen and fried chicken, demand for the country's spicy sauces is rapidly growing overseas. 

According to data from the Korea Customs Service, exports of sauces this year until April were $130.93 million, a 6 percent increase from the same period last year. 

The United States was the largest market, accounting for 23 percent, followed by China with 12 percent, Japan with 9 percent, Russia with 7 percent and Vietnam with 5 percent.

One of the companies leading the trend is Samyang Food, which saw sauce and seasoning sales surge 31 percent to 38.1 billion won ($27 million) year-on-year in 2023, propelled by the worldwide hit of its Buldak Bokkeummyun spicy chicken flavor ramen. The company’s research and development spending for new varieties more than doubled to 5.8 billion won last year. 

Other Korean firms are also focusing on sauces. Kyochon F&B, well known for Kyochon Chicken, released its red pepper-based K1 Hot Sauce on Amazon in January. 

Daesang, which has the Cheongjeongwon and Jongga brands, has designated sauces as a strategic global product and is expanding the export of sauces that utilize traditional Korean condiments such as red pepper paste.
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