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Nongshim heir slates meal replacement noodles as next growth engine

From left, the late founder of Nongshim Shin Choon-ho and vice chairman of the company Shin Dong-won / Courtesy of Nongshim
From left, the late founder of Nongshim Shin Choon-ho and vice chairman of the company Shin Dong-won / Courtesy of Nongshim

By Kim Jae-heun

Nongshim Vice Chairman Shin Dong-won is facing up to the challenge to beef up his company's home meal replacement noodles items following the death of his father Shin Choon-ho.

The younger Shin took over the lead position from his father who died of a chronic illness last month. Two days prior to the founder's death, the vice chairman said during a regular general shareholders' meeting that home meal replacements and functional health food would be the next growth engines of the company.

The meal replacements market grew significantly here with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the increasing number of one-person households. To better meet the trend, Vice Chairman Shin decided to focus on meal-kit products based on noodles, which the company is best known for.

Nongshim will introduce three new meals by the end of this month through its brand Cook Tam: Beef Soup Noodles, Hot Spicy Meat Stew Noodles and Sausage Stew Noodles.

Shin believes noodle meal-kit products have an advantage over of others as they are simple to prepare.

Also, unlike other meal kit products, for which Nongshim outsources OEM production to its subsidiary Taekyung Nongsan, and other medium-sized manufacturers, the top noodle maker will produce the three new items in-house showing how committed Vice Chairman Shin is to the replacement business.

Nongshim's best-seller instant noodle, Shin Ramyun Black / Courtesy of Nongshim
Nongshim's best-seller instant noodle, Shin Ramyun Black / Courtesy of Nongshim

This is quite similar to how his father meticulously engaged in all processes from production through to branding for Nongshim's best-selling instant noodles Shin Ramyun and Jjapaghetti.

Vice Chairman Shin's next business item will be dried foods.

"Last year, we successfully launched functional health foods including collagen products and they are producing results. We will also introduce meat substitute items that we delayed in 2020," Shin said during a regular general shareholders' meeting held at the company's headquarters in Seoul, March 25.

Nongshim launched its home meal replacement brand Cook Tam in 2017. The food firm introduced several meal-kit items in collaboration with local e-commerce firm TMON a year earlier for trials.

But Cook Tam ― which has introduced 20 products so far including sausage, kimchi and beef stews ― is yet to show a concrete achievement putting it in the same league as market leaders CJ CheilJedang, Pulmuone, Dongwon Food & Beverage and Ottogi.

Nongshim also has a vegan brand Veggie Garden that produces meat alternatives and meal replacement products. The food firm is currently constructing a second manufacturing facility in the United States to expand its business into the South American market.


Kim Jae-heun jhkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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