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Nongshim's instant noodles are on display at a Walmart outlet in the United States. Courtesy of Nongshim

Korean snack maker lays eyes on eastern region

Nongshim keeps searching for the place to build its second factory in the United States. Korea’s top snack maker plans to spend some $100 million to set up a new factory targeting the world’s largest economy.

A Nongshim official said on March 25 that the Seoul-based company has yet to make any decision on the precise site.

We are examining whether to establish the second factory in the eastern region of the U.S. because our first one is in the west. Other than that, nothing is determined yet,” a Nongshim spokesman said.

Although Nongshim officials remain tight-lipped, a few candidates have been on the lips of observers like New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Atlanta. Many ethnic Koreans, the primary consumers of Nongshim’s main products of instant noodle called ramen, live there.

Nongshim constructed its first factory in Rancho Cucamonga of California, which also accommodate many Koreans. It increased the number of production lines there to six last year to meet the rising demands of ramen in the North American markets.

Nongshim initially wanted to add one more line, but the plan fell apart due to the opposition of the authority. This prompted the company to mull building its second plant in the eastern area.

Since Nongshim first exported its ramen to stores in Los Angeles in 1971, the firm has chalked up fast growth. Nongshim America’s sales amounted to $156 million in 2015, and the figure rose at a double-digit pace over the following years to top $220 million in 2018.

And the brisk sales are expected to continue this year.

Nongshim signed a direct supply deal with Walmart for its ramen in 2013 and later the world’s biggest retailer offered Nongshim products at all of its outlets across the U.S.

Nongshim’s bigger competitors of Maruchan and Nissin have multiple factories in the U.S. _ the former runs three while the latter operates two. Now, Nongshim is the No. 3 player there.

 

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