Food Branding Business

Breaking Down and Analyzing the Koyo Organic Noodles Food Brand

Koyo’s website/product branding is playing off of Japanese food and culture, and I’m here to make heads or tails if it’s “ching chong” marketing

The worst thing that you can see online nowadays is the outrage over non-issues and the persecution of people and businesses that are targets of social justice douchebags. At first appearances, Koyo Noodles seems like a totally oblivious brand, but Koyo Noodles isn’t all that bad if they just called their product “Asian noodles.” Unfortunately they don’t, so is it really ramen or what they say it is? Or “hey you ching chongers, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, it’s all the same to us.”

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Koyo gets their basic messaging right because on their landing page of their website they have a Thai looking dude, but the vast majority of the marketing conveys a basic Asian vibe. Screenshot off of http://www.koyonoodles.com

I’m going to have to research whether or not Koyo is related with any other brand because it seems familiar although I’m sure it’s just due to the “off the shelf” graphic design.

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Just like other brands jumping on the ramen bandwagon, they tout being organic, and MSG free aka “clean ingredients.” Screenshot off of http://www.koyonoodles.com

The bastardization of Asian culture is what is generally wrong with food culture because businesses get to dictate to the masses how various Asian cuisines are understood by the public. If they mash Asians into one homogenous group, it really comes off as though they’re more concerned about making a buck although going in, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that any issues are accidental or just lazy on their part.

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“Know your noodles? Is only somehow just Japanese noodles, so don’t expect to see spätzle, naengmyeon, or reshte (I didn’t know why only Japanese till I checked out their product line up, it seems to be Japanese centric). Screenshot off of http://www.koyonoodles.com

When it comes to the Asian population in the United States, Japanese are a very small minority group in the United States with a population of  1.3m (2010 census). The Chinese are the largest group with (3.79m), followed by Filipino’s (3.41m), Indian (3.18m), Vietnamese (1.73m), and Koreans with (1.7m), yet somehow everything is Japanese (are you aware of other Asian ethnicities?)

Why Just Japanese Noodles?

Regardless of population size, most opportunistic businesses will typically market their products under the guise of being “Japanese” (like the old school porn star Mimi Miyagi who isn’t Japanese) even though the Chinese are the originators and there is a diverse range of noodles amongst nationalities. To illustrate that, I have listed a few of the most popular noodles in the Asian cuisine.

Wheat Noodles

  • Lamein, Chinese
  • Lo mein, Chinese
  • Chow mein, Chinese
  • Wonton, Chinese
  • Naengmyon, Korean

Rice Noodles

  • Chow fun/ho fun, Chinese
  • Bun/mai fun/rice vermicelli, Vietnamese, Chinese

Mung bean 

  • Saifun, Bún tào (cellophane/glass noodles), Thai, Vietnamese

Sweet potato

  • Jap chae, Korean

Is Koyo actually ramen noodles?

  • Koyo Noodles ingredients list for their organic instant noodles are: “organic heirloom wheat flour, sea salt.”
  • Actual Japanese ramen noodles are made up of: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (or potassium and sodium carbonate) which makes them a ramen noodle and gives Japanese ramen noodles the chewiness and yellow color.
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The Koyo Noodles product line up. Screenshot off of http://www.koyonoodles.com

The Koyo Product Line

Koyo Noodles sells numerous flavors of “ramen,” along with udon, and soba. Except their soba is made from wheat flour, not buckwheat, but they have something called “buckwheat shoyu ramen” which btw has buckwheat flour. If that is the case, that would not be a “ramen” noodle (it’s a soba noodle).

How are the Koyo Noodle products rated

On the Ramen Rater website which is one of the top sites for reviewing instant noodles, Koyo’s Reduced Sodium Garlic and Pepper Ramen did not fair so well with a bottom ten noodles of all time 2017 edition.

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“The noodles are thick – more like ramyun. They have an alright chew; although they seem almost doughy” – the Ramen Rater

That’s just one product, and overall the brand recieves a solid 3.5 stars on Amazon

The Asian vegetable ramen on Amazon out of 55 reviews has a decent rating of 3.5 stars. It’s not an over the top rating, and it gets slightly one upped (way fewer reviews) by Mike’s Mighty good vegetable ramen soup with 5 reviews and 4-stars (one 2-star review with four 5-star reviews). Also, this isn’t apples to apples comparison, but the Mike’s Chicken Ramen Soup which has 22 reviews but only receives a 3-star rating.

No MSG?

You constantly see companies tout this, but there are a number of ingredients that naturally have glutamates. If you want to see a list of them, I’ll provide an article by the Guardian “If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?‘ In the article of products containing MSG they cite “soy sauce” which Koyo has in powder form although it’ll be dependent on what sort they use: Chinese soy sauce contains MSG, Japanese does not.

What Koyo claims: “the Koyo Ramen Noodles are crafted from freshly milled organically grown heirloom wheat. They are pre-cooked, and baked not fried. They do not contain any Additives, Preservatives or MSG.”

You can be 1 of 1,000+ of their followers if you promise to only praise them (or you can get Jim Acosta’d)

Anything that they don’t agree with (it’s a business after all) is met with them blocking you, so you better be a major fan because any kind of dissention or questions that are not favorable are met with Trump, Putin, and Kim Jong-un like intolerance.

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On their website, they do a proper and commendable job at depicting their product as an Asian noodle product even though they call it “ramen” and use Japanese words like “umami.”

Asian fusion cuisine

Nobody actually Japanese would ever get any of the recipes or noodle dishes on their social media confused as being Japanese. Although, unlike the other misguided brands, Koyo doesn’t go out and claim to be “authentic Japanese ramen” which is why Koyo as a brand doesn’t suck nowhere as bad as a number of the other offenders.

The bottom line is that these brands rely on that you will not be any more cultured than they are (just at least Rhode Island level of culture)

Like I said earlier, Koyo does a better job than one brand I have mind which is marketed by a person of Simple Jack aptitude although that doesn’t mean Koyo doesn’t have it’s issues such as with:

  1. “Authentic Asian fusion creations” fusion is a mash-up of Asian cuisines, so how is it authentic? Is there such a thing as authentic American noodles?
  2. “Our Soba Ramen has delicious nutty flavor paired with a classic ramen broth” So it’s not ramen, it’s soba because Japanese ramen utilizes ramen noodles.

Finally, as for who is running the show? Well, there’s really no “Our Story” of Koyo

The only info about them is that their contact information is based out of Providence, RI.

www.koyonoodles.com

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