SEOUL, May 15 (UPI) -- Manufacturers of instant noodles in South Korea are seeing increased sales this year as more people opt to eat at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nongshim, the country's largest maker of instant noodles and snacks, announced Friday its first-quarter sales jumped 16.8 percent from a year ago, while its operating profit more than doubled.
Sales of instant noodles were up 115 percent year-on-year.
The popularity of Jjiapaguri -- a noodle dish featured in the 2020 Oscar-winning film Parasite -- helped boost sales. Jjapaguri is made from a mixture of two Nongshim products.
"As COVID-19 has forced consumers to stay home this year, their purchase of instant noodles increased. Parasite also helped us," a Nongshim official told UPI News Korea.
"In the second quarter, even overseas demand has risen for instant noodles as the pandemic lingers across the world. We are putting forth efforts to meet the increasing demand."
Nongshim's cross-town rivals, Ottogi and Samyang Foods, saw their operating income go up 8.3 percent and 73 percent between January and March (compared to a year prior).
In particular, Samyang had record quarterly sales and profits during the January-March period. The company has focused on selling to overseas markets.
Samyang accounted for 43 percent of South Korea's instant noodle exports during the first quarter of 2019, and that number rose to 49 percent this year.
"We will continue to improve our sales network while beefing up our brand in the global market," a Samyang official said. "Plus, we will come up with new products."