The MZ generation set out to ‘break the seal’ with spicy flavor | Segye Ilbo

The MZ generation set out to ‘break the seal’ with spicy flavor |  Segye Ilbo


Habanero. Capsaicin. Mara. This is a trend that has dominated the food industry for several years. At the center of this spicy flavor craze are MZ generation consumers. In fact, last year, the ‘Spicy Flavor Challenge’ video on TikTok exceeded 176 million views, and the ‘Spicy Flavor Challenge’-related posts on Instagram exceeded about 3 million.

Experts interpret this trend as a result of the challenge culture established among young people, leading to a demand for spicy food. Watching influencers and YouTubers’ spicy food mukbang (eating broadcast), taking on the spicy taste challenge, or verifying photos on social media have become a form of play.

Even from a corporate perspective, this challenge craze is welcome. This is because it can reach many consumers more easily and quickly. It is a win-win situation for companies as they can immediately check consumers’ reactions to the product and promote the product naturally.

The ramen industry is also keeping pace with this trend and is rushing to introduce spicy ramen that stimulates the ‘spicy spirit’ (pride of being good at eating spicy food) of MZ generation consumers.

Harim, a general food company, also recently launched an ambitious challenge to the spicy ramen market by launching The Gourmet ‘Artisan Ramen Spicy Flavor’. By blending the world’s four major peppers, famous for their spiciness, including bhut jolokia, habanero, Cheongyang pepper, and Vietnamese pepper, in an optimal ratio, the pepper’s natural spicy taste and aroma are achieved without the harshness. The Scoville index (a scale of capsaicin concentration) is 8,000 SHU, the second highest after Paldo’s ‘Niche Ramen Extreme Experience’ (15,000 SHU) and ‘Niche Red Rice Cake’ (9413 SHU).

The dummy type ‘Artisan Ramen Spicy Taste’ received a positive response, receiving the highest rating from 88% of all Coupang buyers within 10 days of its launch. What caught the attention of consumers was definitely the soup. In actual shopping mall reviews, there were positive reviews such as “I was surprised by the depth of the soup” and “It seemed to emphasize the natural taste of the peppers rather than the artificial spicy taste.” Posts from consumers who have purchased and tried the ‘spicy taste’ are pouring in on social media as well, such as “I decided to try it after watching YouTuber Tsuyang eat it,” and “It’s a spicy flavor worth trying if you’re Korean.”

In response to this response, Harim said, “We first focused on finding the basic spicy flavor,” and added, “After about a year of research and development and consumer taste testing, we found a clean and refreshing spicy flavor, and it seems that these efforts have reached consumers.” .

In 2022, Paldo also introduced a limited-edition niche ramen series, ‘Niche Ramen Extreme Experience,’ targeting the MZ generation who is addicted to spicy flavors. At the time of release, the fact that it was 15,000 Scoville became a hot topic, and YouTubers’ challenge videos with the theme of ‘extreme experience for niche people’ continued. It also succeeded in becoming popular on Instagram, with over 500 related hashtags posted. In fact, the limited quantity of 300,000 units was sold out within a month of launch, and the additional 300,000 units produced afterwards were also sold out early. Recently, we are focusing on diversifying our spicy products by collaborating with snack food franchise School Food to launch limited menu items in the ‘niche series’, ‘niche mozzarella spam egg mari’ and ‘niche carbonara pasta tteokbokki’.

Last year, Nongshim made a full-fledged start to spicy flavor products by introducing ‘Shin Ramyun The Red’, which has a Scoville index twice higher than the Scoville index of the steady-seller ‘Shin Ramyun’. The ‘Baehongdong Jjolmyeon Challenge Edition’, which is even spicier, has also been released for a limited time. It is a product that adds the sweet and sour taste of pear, red pepper, and dongchimi, which are the identity of Bae Hong-dong, to the intense spiciness made with sky vinegar. After the release, people said on social media, “It’s spicier than I thought. There are a series of reviews calling for a sense of challenge among spicy flavor enthusiasts, such as “You shouldn’t look at it lightly,” and “If you’re passionate about spicy food, give it a try.”

Meanwhile, Ottogi selected actor Lee Je-hoon as its new model to effectively convey the appeal of ‘Jin Bibim Myeon’, its representative bibim noodles. The plan is to accelerate the market penetration by meeting with Jin Bibim Noodles, which satisfies consumers with its super-spicy taste and generous portions, and actor Lee Je-hoon, who impresses with his solid acting skills.

The reason Ottogi selected actor Lee Je-hoon as its model was because of his diverse image that shows a wide range of acting skills, from captivating masculinity to soft charisma, through various works. The TV CF filming with the new model was completed early this month, and from the 21st, a mouth-watering mukbang concept video of actor Lee Je-hoon savoring Ottogi Jinbibim noodles with the concept of ‘120% satisfaction with Jinbibim noodles because they are super refreshing, super spicy, and super filling’ started on the 21st. This is being aired.

Reporter Kim Hyun-joo [email protected]

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