When asked to describe “Korean curry,” most South Koreans will likely mention the well-known Ottogi Curry at some point, testifying to the role that the Korean food brand Ottogi has played in introducing and popularizing curry across the country.
Though curry was introduced to Korea in the 1940s, the Indian dish was only popularized decades later, when Ottogi entered the Korean food industry by launching its powder-type curry product in 1969, betting that Korean consumers would likely enjoy curry served with rice.
Ottogi Curry has changed over the last four decades, widening its product range and form. In 1981, the brand created a sensation by introducing ready-made curry served in the country’s first retort pouches under the instant food brand “3-Minutes.”
A retort pouch is a type of flexible food packaging that allows food to be stored and circulated for long periods of time, without using artificial preservatives.
The new instant curry was met with rave reviews from those who had been seeking easy-to-make curries. It saw huge success, selling more than 4 million units in the first year alone. Since then, product’s taste range has diversified from mild, slightly spicy, spicy and others, to better meet customer preferences.
In the years after, Ottogi has been working to improve its products in line with changing demands. In 2004, Ottogi increased the percentage of turmeric ― the main herb in curry which is known to contain curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound said to have several health benefits ― by 50 percent.
In 2009, the company launched an improved powder-type curry that does not clot even when immediately cooked in boiling water.
Being mindful of the rising popularity of fermented products among health-conscious consumers, the company launched a special edition of its Ottogi Baekse Fermented Turmeric Curry in 2012.
In May 2014, the company released the 3-Minute Lentil Curry. The company recently launched the Ottogi Turmeric ― made with 100 percent Indian turmeric ― which can be cooked with a variety of ingredients including rice, fish, stir-fry and fried foods.
Celebrating its 46th anniversary this year, Ottogi is continuing to strive to stand by its reputation as the No. 1 Korean curry-maker and deliver better products to customers through continued research and diverse marketing campaigns.
Ottogi has been leading a variety of programs to promote the health benefits of curry and offer customers information on various dishes that can be made with the company’s signature product.
“Standing behind the success of Ottogi Curry are Koreans’ trust in Ottogi as the nation’s representative curry brand, the healthy attributes found in curry such as turmeric, the simple cooking process and rising consumer interest in healthy foods,” the company said in a statement.