Delon Wang
Delon is Trends Manager, Asia Pacific at Mintel. He oversees Trends content and Trends client servicing for the region.

South Korean retail chain Emart24 has launched an instant cup noodle product that claims to cure hangovers. The ‘Sokchan Ramyeon’ is a kimchi stew-flavoured noodle with an intense spicy kick to help relieve the cumulative stress caused by hangovers. It contains turmeric noodles, pork bone extract, dried kimchi and red pepper powder.

Back from the brink

South Koreans are reportedly gradually cutting down on their alcohol consumption, with data from Statistics Korea noting a drop in alcohol unloaded from domestic liquor supplier warehouses between 2015-16. This fall was caused by reduced consumption of popular alcoholic South Korean beverages the likes of soju, beer and magkeolli (rice wine).

That said, excessive alcohol drinking remains a problem especially as drinking alcohol is a main method for South Koreans to let off steam given their increasingly stressful and competitive lifestyles. The country is known to have a very social and hierarchical work culture where after-hours drinking is treated as a rite of passage, with the expectation to win the favours of senior colleagues.

To showcase that this is a long-standing issue in South Korea, local convenience store chain Withme launched a hangover ice cream product back in 2016 to help employees who have suffered long hours of post-work drinking and its effects.

What we think

Given such high alcohol consumption levels in South Korea, consumers will definitely welcome new products and services that help cure their hangovers. Brands would do well to experiment with new formulations, such as Lidl’s ‘hangover-free’ Prosecco, to offer a wider set of options for consumers.