Spicy chicken and curry variations of Korean toothpaste get recalled


The Korean toothpaste industry is no slouch when it comes to fusing trends into branding and doing cross-industry collaborations.

However, Korean toothpaste producer, Aekyung Industrial, has recently run afoul with regulatory bodies. Specifically, its efforts to promote curry-flavored toothpaste and hot chicken noodle toothpaste.

Buldak Hot Chicken Ramen Toothpaste

Image to refer to Buldak Stir-fried Noodle Korean toothpaste

In January 2020, Aekyung Industrial’s total oral care brand ‘2080’ teamed up with Samyang Food’s Buldak Hot Chicken Ramen. They decided to release 2080 Hochi Toothpaste that is based on the ramen's brand awareness around the world. The toothpaste is dark red like the hot chicken stir-fried noodle sauce. The image also has the visual imagery of the hot chicken stir-fried noodle product. The product became popular, selling more than 80,000 units within two months of its release.

3-Minute Curry Korean Toothpaste

Image to refer to curry toothpaste

In 2021, Aekyung Industrial began to make curry toothpaste. This was released in conjunction with Ottogi, the maker of a popular curry brand. Although the chicken toothpaste version doesn't taste like chicken, the curry toothpaste does exude some curry flavor.

Since then, there has been public concern about this kind of Korean toothpaste. The labels or ads could cause non-food items to be mistaken for food. The 'funsumer' (fun+consumer) concept was intended to bring fun elements into everyday products. But clearly the concept went a little too far in the pursuit of creating that kind of feel to toothpaste.

Aekyung Industrial then began a recall of its curry toothpaste. This fall, they also began a recall on its buldak hot chicken ramen toothpaste as a measure to deter customers from thinking it is food.

Nevertheless, some leading dentists in Korea still tout the healthy merits of Korean toothpaste, including Aekyung's flagship '2080' brand.

Some things were just not meant to go precisely together, such as spicy chicken, curry and dental care in Korea.