Paldo expanding business in Russia, US

2013-06-04 : 18:37

American children taste Paldo products during the firm’s street promotional campaign in Los Angeles in this photo taken last August. Sixty countries
currently sell the company’s products. Paldo is diversifying its product portfolio to enter new markets such as India, Latin American and African nations.  / Courtesy of Paldo

By Park Si-soo

This is the fifth in a series of articles on Korean food companies and restaurants seeking to expand overseas ㅡ ED.

Paldo CEO
Choi Jae-moon

Instant noodle maker Paldo is flexing its muscles to expand its international presence on the back of brisk sales in Russia, the United States, Japan and China. The company headed by Choi Jae-moon, entered Brazil and Singapore last year, raising the number of countries selling its products to 60.

“Paldo’s globalization is going on,” Choi said in a statement, adding the firm keeps diversifying its product portfolio in an ambitious move into “uncharted markets” such as India, and Latin American and African nations.

Paldo spun off in 2012 from the country’s largest yogurt maker Korea Yakult, is the country’s fourth largest instant noodle maker by market share, and posted 350 billion won ($309 million) in sales last year.

Russia is the firm’s largest overseas market. More than 20 million packets of Paldo instant noodles are sold there each year. To ensure stable product supply, the firm set up a manufacturing plant near Moscow in 2005 and another one in Ryazan in 2010, which are under the control of Paldo’s Russian affiliate.

The biggest contributor to its Russian sales is “Dosirak,” which means boxed meal in Korean. The hit item generates nearly half of the firm’s entire sales in Russia ㅡ 220 billion won for last year.

“Dosirak is so popular in Russia,” said Im Min-uk, a Paldo spokesman. “The Russian affiliate was named after the products to help bolster the firm’s brand recognition.” The firm’s non-noodle products such as confectionary, beverages and seasoning products are being promoted under the same brand, a marketing tactic to maximize synergy.

The spokesman said the firm’s unwavering effort to get satisfy the tastes of local consumers is behind its huge success in Russia.

The U.S. is Paldo’s second largest overseas market, where it raked in $11 million in sales last year. Among the top selling items include “Bowl noodle” and “Kokomen.” While the former tastes spicy with a red broth, the latter is mild-flavored white-broth noodles. They are major export items to Japan, Canada and China, according to the spokesman.

He said the firm is making a last-minute effort to launch two “innovative” products during the second half of the year, adding they will be made of ingredients that have never been used for mass-produced noodles.

Paldo has surprised the local instant noodle market several times with innovative products. In 1983, it became the country’s first instant noodle manufacturer to use liquid seasoning. The following year, the firm lived up to its innovativeness with the first cold instant noodle, “Paldo Bibimmyeon.”

It has maintained its leadership with various innovative changes in terms of the shape of container and portions among others.

Marking the 30th anniversary into the business, CEO Choi said early last month he will do everything he can to bolster the spirit of innovation.