Two prominent figures in Korea’s instant noodle industry gambled with new products this year, with totally different consequences revealed on Tuesday.
Nongshim, the nation’s largest instant noodle maker, announced Tuesday it has decided to stop producing Shin Ramyun Black, whose sales started four months ago.
Based on research lasting three years, Nongshim launched the premium version of its signature Shin Ramyun in April. With “quality and expensive” ingredients used, the price had doubled.
The unprecedented premium pricing strategy of a ramyun brand seemed successful as the sales recorded 9 billion won ($8.4 million) in the first month.
However, the sales have continually fallen to reach 2 billion won in July.
Considering the increased manufacturing costs, it would take at least 5 billion won in sales to pull the company out of the red, the company said.
Industry sources said that, among other things, the unfavorable ruling by the Fair Trade Commission in June may have fatally hurt the item’s image and sales leading to production halt.
The antitrust watchdog called the company’s description of the item as an “ideal product meeting the nutrition ratio” misleading and fined them 155 million won.
“We recorded almost 10 billion won in sales in April, but the August sales decreased almost one-fourth. We judged that we cannot maintain the deficit structure,” said a Nongshim official.
“We aimed high but the result was disappointing.”
In the meantime, Korea Yakult Co. said Tuesday that its production of Kkokomyeon exceeded the 8-million mark as of Aug. 26 after its launch one month ago.
The chicken stock-based ramyun was invented by Lee Kyung-kyu, a veteran comedian, who garnered the highest scores in an instant noodle competition during a TV show.
While most instant noodle makers, including Nongshim, were skeptical about the new flavor, Yakult was the only one which showed interest and started production in July.
And consumers reacted explosively. The online community was filled with good reviews of consumers and some complaints that they could not buy the ramyun because stores have run out of stock.
The sales over the first one month amounted to 5.6 billion won, almost the double the company’s original estimation of 3 billion won.
“With summer season nearing to the end, we have increased production of Kkokomyun. We expect the sales would exceed 10 billion won next month,” a Yakult official said.
Industry sources predicted that Yakult, which currently stands at No .4, could enter the top three instant food makers driven by the soaring sales of Kkokomyun.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)
농심의 참패, '신라면 블랙' 생산중단
농심이 고급형 라면으로 개발해 출시했 던 '신라면 블랙'의 생산을 출시 4개월만에 중단하기로 했다.
농심은 '신라면 블랙'을 이달 말까지만 생산한 뒤 다음달부터 생산을 완전히 중 단키로 했다고 30일 밝혔다.
농심 관계자는 "최근 신라면 블랙의 매출이 부진해 팔면 팔수록 손해가 나는 구조가 됐다"며 "다음달부터 생산을 전면 중단할 계획"이라고 말했다.
업계에서는 지난 6월 말 공정거래위원회가 신라면 블랙에 대해 허위·과장광고 혐의가 있다며 과징금을 부과한 것이 신라면 블랙 매출 저하의 직접적 원인이 된 것 으로 보고 있다.
공정위 제재 이후 신라면 블랙의 가격이 지나치게 비싸다는 인식이 확산되면서 소비자들이 외면하게 됐다는 것이다.
개당 1천500원이 넘는 가격으로 화제를 모았던 신라면 블랙은 출시 초반 한때 월 매출 90억원을 기록하면서 큰 인기를 끈 바 있다.