SEOUL - Two pizza’s, four hamburgers, a dozen of chicken nuggets and five portions of noodles, all topped with rich servings of bacon and cheese and eaten in half an hour time while making moaning and groaning sound effects. This is in short the new hype that generates millions of subscribers and tens of thousands of views. The public: people who love nothing more than to watch other people eat. This phenomeon is calles mukbang and popular for years in South-Korea. Muoak-da means ‘eat’ in Korean and bang song is ‘broadcasting’, so ‘eating broadcast’ is what it’s called and this is exactly what it is.
It’s quite logical that this trend started in South Korea. Eating together is traditionally very important in the Korean culture, but because of the individualization a lot of people live and eat alone nowadays. By watching people eat they feel a sense of belonging. But also many American and English people are looking now for mukbangers on YouTube. Will this follow the general rule of food trends that they will blow over to the European continent? Or will we, down-to-earth Dutch people, shrug and see this food hype pass up?
Well, not in the opinion of certain food brands. At the tables with loads of food waiting to be eaten by the mukbangers, you find especially a lot of Nando’s, Dominos, McDonalds and other well-known fast food chains. Food brands often use influencers to promote their products, an effective way to connect with the generation Z. But there are enough negative effects to think of. People with eating disorders often develop a fixation of fascination with food. They derive pleasure watching other people eat. The psychology behind this is exactly what food brands are after. We eat with our eyes and this makes it very tempting and addictive to watch these bizarre food habits of the mukbangers and copy them. Not to mention food wastage or sustainability, because I doubt if the tremendous amounts of food will be eaten down to the last crumb, let alone that all packaging will be disposed in the appropriate way.
I ask my teenage son if he ever watched a mukbang movie. ‘Oh yes, he answers, Domino’s it was I think. I liked it actually.’ I raise my eyebrows. What, blow over? Mukbang appears to be among us already.
TEN the Export network offers advice and support to food & beverage companies that dare to look across borders. We coordinate export activities, stimulate business development projects and set up new international routes. TEN professionalizes existing export activities and we are consultants working for the SIB programme (Starters International Business Programme of the RVO) for SME companies. For more information: www.theexportnetwork.nl or contact us for an appointment: http://www.theexportnetwork.nl/contact/.
Source: TEN - partner FoodPro Network
Source: The Grocer, sept 2019 ‘Mukbang: could the obsession with watching people eat be a money spinner for brands?’
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