“We started Omsom with the mission of reclaiming Asian flavors because they've been diluted for far too long and also educating on the multitudes within Asian America. Our mission goes beyond just the scope of food; it really goes to culture at a national level.”
Revamping the global food aisle, starting first with Whole Foods
Since the brand started in 2020, Omsom hasn’t shied away from its roots but instead embraced it loudly and proudly, which is reflected in everything from its brand names to the products that it's releasing on the market to its storytelling to consumers across digital and physical channels, Pham explained.
“Omsom is a proud and loud Asian food brand, ... and one quick tidbit that helps really bring it to life is that Omsom in Vietnamese actually means rowdy, rambunctious, or riotous. It's a negative term. It's what our parents would use to scold us when we were kids, but we kind of love that energy.”
Omsom is taking that rowdy energy and using it to expand further into Whole Foods with its new line of Omsom Saucy Noodles, which are available for $4.99 MSRP and come in Soy Garlic, Coconut Lemongrass Curry, Garlic Black Pepper and Chili Sesame flavors. Last year, the brand debuted on retail store shelves with its line of sauces, including its Krapow, Vietnamese BBQ, Yuzu Misoyaki and Spicy Bulgogi sauces, at Whole Food stores nationwide.
“We've been so grateful to be able to launch nationally with Whole Foods because they're kind of like our dream part,” Pham said. “Given that national opportunity right out of the gate is huge for a brand like ours where we're going from what we say, ‘URL to IRL,’ which is in a big transition for us. And now our community, which is massive and growing—over 175,000 people—can now go to their local stores and buy us in person.”
Innovating in global flavors to instant noodles
At the same time that Omsom looks to build out its retail footprint, which include retail expansion into Target stores as well earlier this year, the demand for globally inspired flavors and tastes remains an important aspect of the overall food and beverage industry. Not only are “Asian Americans ... the fastest growing population with the fastest growing buying power across all ethnic groups in the US,” but consumers of all walks of life are increasingly turning to Asian flavors in their foods and beverage, Pham said.
While Pham and Omsom’s other co-founder, Kim Pham, have brought to market Vietnamese flavors from their heritage, the brand is also partnering with Asian chefs to bring to life authentic Asian flavors from all across the region, Pham explained. “We work with [the chefs] on the marketing and the storytelling and discussion of the cuisine, the dish, the culture, and then we also give them a share of sales on that product into the future,” she said.
As Omsom looks to bring more authentic Asian-inspired products to market, it will face stiff competition from the instant noodle category with established players from Kraft Heinz to Nissin Foods, as the overall market is positioned for growth in the coming years. The instant noodle market was valued at $45.889bn in 2020 and is expected to grow to $65.558bn by the end of 2027, growing a 5.23% between the time periods, according to Research and Market research.
To compete in this space, Omsom is “firing on all fronts” and looking to provide convenience with a four-minute cooking time for its instant noodles and the product’s quality, which features “nice-shaped noodles with ... these rustic restaurant quality sauces, instead of like your dry powder from a packet,” Pham said. And just as it did when it launched the brand, Omsom will lean into its loud and proud messaging to attract consumers to its brand, she added.
"But at the end of the day, I think when you're playing in a category like noodles, like it's got to be the taste; it's got to be the product. And I think we're bringing something really unique to the category."