Who eats the most instant ramen in the world? South Korea

November 11, 2015
(Korea Times file)

(Korea Times file)

By Brian Han

When you think of instant ramen, the image of college students on a budget comes to mind.

But it looks as though that preconception might change — South Koreans top the list of most ramen consumed per capita, according to the latest data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

In a year, a South Korean will eat 76 packages of instant ramen. That’s over 20 pounds of noodles.

Vietnam came in a distant second with 55 packages consumed per capita, while Indonesia and Thailand followed close behind.

The ministry had an explanation for the phenomenon, but it’s not because of new, slick packaging or budgetary constraints.

“The high consumption number is due to the rise in one-person households and people wanting to prepare simple and easy-to-eat meals,” it wrote in its report.

In fact, the number of ramen sold around the world has been growing steadily since 2007. In 2014, the market size for the popular food stood at $1.64 billion.


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