The growing popularity of Asian flavors has induced the instant noodle and ramen market to reach $28.4B in 2020, and European manufacturers are quickly catching on the trend by producing instant noodles locally. KG Group, one of the largest agriculture and food production groups in the Baltic states, is adding new Asian flavors and changing the packaging for the brand “Sun Yan” launched in 2014 and well established both locally and at an European level.
“Sun Yan rebranding has been the next step after building the new production plant which facilitated the manufacture of nest noodles,” said Tautvydas Barštys, CEO at KG Group. “Now, given the growing demand for Asian-style noodles, the built-in latest technology allows us to focus on upgrading the consumer favorites and compete in full force with other instant noodle manufacturers in Europe.”
As a European manufacturer, KG Group ensures product quality through its production chain model “from field to table.” Since the grains are purchased from local farmers, the company mills the raw materials in the on-site mill, later uses the flour to manufacture the noodles, and manages the subsequent logistics. By controlling the logistics process, KG Group is therefore able to avoid the logistic hindrances caused by the pandemic and deliver the products to 26 European countries within 24 hours, including the UK. New “Sun Yan” products are now available in Denmark, France, Spain, Latvia, Estonia, and later in Sweden, Bulgaria, Poland.
Speaking of the United Kingdom, Euromonitor International Report 2020 shows that rice, pasta, and noodle retail volume and current value growth rates have increased significantly in the UK during the pandemic due to the intense stockpiling of these products. The retail current value terms of these products has increased by 15%, reaching £1.7B. Also, KG Group exported 100M units of noodles, pasta and rice to the UK in 2020, making it almost 70% more than in 2019. Given the tendencies perceived in Q1 of 2021, the company is expecting to export around 130M units of products to the UK this year.
“After thorough analysis of global tendencies, we saw that Asian foods are still on the rise in Europe,” added Oksana Šimoliūnaitė, product and brand manager at KG Group. “By upgrading the brand, we wanted to offer consumers an outstanding product which would complement their ever-changing needs. A miniscule detail to new recipes allowed us to achieve the most authentic Asian flavors through a variety of traditionally eastern ingredients, such as ginger, anise, or cinnamon.”
The upgraded brand “Sun Yan” is launched with four new flavors in cups and four in pouches. A team of product development and marketing executives analyzed current Asian product trends and created new recipes. New packaging is also set to reflect the product taste, while the changed recipes include Asian-style chicken, Hot & Spicy, roasted beef, and garlic shrimp flavors with an assortment of chopped vegetables—celery, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and others.
With almost 10 years of experience in instant product manufacture, KG Group is the only manufacturer in Northern Europe to have instant product production plants on site. Given the recent upward interest in instant products, KG Group increased its capacities by making a €20M investment into launching the most leading-edge facility in Europe last year. KG Group now produces 180M units of noodle cups and 80M units of pouches per year by the company’s brands, such as Sun Yan, Activus, and Just Inn, as well as private labels. The product assortment includes instant noodles, pasta, oat porridges, rice, buckwheat, and couscous.