Posted : 2014-11-23 18:19
Updated : 2014-11-23 20:29

Honey Butter Chips: Six things to know

Courtesy of Instagram

By Lee Ji-hye

Anyone with a passing interest in mainstream Korean culture has by now heard of the Honey Butter Chip, a product by confectionery firm Haitai that has gained massive popularity in recent weeks.

It seems like people would beg, borrow, and steal to get their hands on these chips, which the company describes as containing "sweet, sweet honey from beehives" and French "gourmet butter."

Many shops have sold out of the product, prompting people to hunt for the chip and vent their frustrations online when they can't find any.

For those lucky enough to find one, a bag of the chip costs around 2,400 won ($2.15). However, the bags are going for almost double the original price at online auctions.

Like it or not, the chip is a phenomenon for now, especially on the Internet. Here are six honey-and-butter flavored trends circulating on the Web right now, which may help explain the buzz surrounding the product.

1. There are conspiracy theories

Given the sudden success, many have offered theories as to how the chip became so popular.

Perhaps the most persistent accusation is that Haitai has deliberately sold out of the product to stoke more demand.

However, an official from Haitai told the Hankook Ilbo that despite working around the clock to produce the chip since the end of September, the company has simply not been able to keep up with demand.

2. ‘One per customer, please'

Demand has been so overwhelming that some convenient stores have posted signs asking customers to buy only one bag each.

"The hours of when the chips come in are between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m." read one poster, which later went viral.

"Supply is always low, so please be understanding and follow our policy of buying only one bag of Honey Butter Chip per person (even groups) for each day."

3. Celebrities are fawning

Broadcaster Park Ji-yoon / Courtesy of Instagram

Actress So Yoo-jin posted a picture of a bag of Honey Butter Chips, along with the comment, "Why do you do this to me? Get away from me! Stop tempting me so much!"

Park Ji-yoon, a former anchor on broadcaster KBS, shared a photo on her Instagram account of herself, holding a bag of Honey Butter Chips. "I can't believe myself for laughing and crying over one bag of chips," she wrote. "But they're so good."

4. It's making people Internet-famous

A Twitter user by the handle of @hodori_love compared the experience of finally obtaining a bag of Honey Butter Chips to purchasing illicit drugs.

"I was wandering around because there were no stores selling the chips, when a worker from a shop saw me," the Twitter user wrote.

"He asked me quietly, 'How many bags do you need?'"

The tweet received more than 5,700 retweets and 450 "favorites" within five days.

In a post on the online community, "Today's Humor," one netizen shared a picture of a bag of Honey Butter Chips taped to three other bags of chips. The post read, "The bundle of four is holding our honey butter chip hostage for 3,300 won!"

Hundreds of people replied to the comment, including one who proclaimed, "I need to save it. Where is this place?"

5. Not everyone's a fan

Online communities and threads with a less-than-flattering perspective on the product have sprouted up as well.

"We are the pigs of the snack industry," an Internet user said in a community on Joonggo Nara ­ a secondhand good forum where the product has been selling. "What they're doing is feeding us manure, so we'll come back for more and more."

6. Desperate times, desperate measures

Courtesy of Twitter

Twitter user @Benedicito has received almost 1,500 retweets for his photo of homemade, honey-flavored, buttery potato chips.

"I went to at least two convenient stores, but I couldn't get them," he wrote.
"So I just bought regular potato chips and put honey and butter on them."

Another Twitter user responded, "You're a genius…I think I'll do the same instead of looking around!"

관련 한글 기사

'허니버터칩' 대체 뭐길래.. 알아야 할 6가지

해태제과가 지난 8월 출시한 감자칩 '허니버터칩'이 폭발적인 인기로 수요가 공급을 초과해 품귀 현상을 빚고 있다.

이 때문에 편의점과 마트 등에서 제품을 구하기 어려워지자 중고 사이트에 비싼 가격에 매물로 등장하기에 이르렀다.

19일 한 온라인 중고거래 사이트 게시판을 보면 허니버터칩을 판다는 글이 여러개 올라와 있다. 봉지당 판매 가격은 2천원부터 편의점 판매가(1천500원)의 3배가 넘는 5천원대에 이른다.

'누가 과자 한 봉지를 이 가격에 살까'하는 의구심이 들 법도 하지만 실제로 구매하겠다며 연락처를 남기거나 쪽지를 달라고 요청한 댓글도 달렸다.

허니버터칩은 최근 온라인에서 입소문을 타고 인기가 폭증해 수요보다 공급 물량이 크게 부족해졌다. 실제로 한 편의점에서는 수급이 불안정해 일시적으로 제품 발주가 중단되기도 했다.

그럼에도 허니버터칩은 이달 들어 편의점(GS25·CU·세븐일레븐) 전체 스낵류 매출 순위에서 포카칩, 새우깡, PB(자체상표) 팝콘 등을 제치고 1위에 올랐다.

해태는 허니버터칩을 생산하는 원주 문막공장을 2교대에서 3교대 근무로 전환하고, 주말에도 '풀 가동' 중이지만 급증하는 수요를 맞추기에는 역부족이라고 한다.

상황이 이렇다 보니 해태 측이 허니버터칩 수요를 맞추려 공장을 무리하게 돌리다가 불이 나 제품 생산이 중단됐다는 사실무근의 소문이 돌기도 했다.

허니버터칩은 해태제과와 모기업 크라운제과를 통틀어 2004년 출시된 마이쮸 이후 10년 만에 나온 히트상품이다. 출시 3개월 만에 매출 50억원을 돌파했다.

짠맛 위주인 감자칩에 달콤한 맛을 곁들인 점, 인스타그램 등 SNS(사회관계망서비스)를 활발하게 쓰는 젊은 층을 중심으로 소문을 탄 점등이 인기 비결로 꼽힌다.

해태 관계자는 '회사 측도 허니버터칩이 이 정도로 인기가 많을 거라곤 전혀 예상하지 못했다'며 '쇄도하는 주문량을 맞출 방안을 고민하고 있다'고 말했다. (연합뉴스)

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