From food to cosmetics, music and electronic goods, Korean products have taken the Indonesian market by storm. The popularity of anything Korean from essentials to lifestyle products could be partly attributed to the rising number of followers of K-Pop music and Korean soap dramas amongst Indonesian millennials.
Latest craze in the local food industry is Korean lunch box-sized cake, known as Bento Cakes, which have gained wide popularity among Indonesian consumers. The simply decorated, pastel-colored cakes are said to have originated from South Korea, although the word bento (lunch box) itself comes from Japan.
This fluffy delicacy, packed in bagasse — a byproduct of sugar production — or styrofoam boxes, is getting more popular in Indonesia as birthdays and other special days are now less often celebrated together in person. Now, more are opting to send these mini cakes that can be finished even by the smallest eater.
The rising demand has attracted food service suppliers as well as the smaller self-taught home-based operators to sell Bento Cakes tailored to Indonesian tastes. One example is West Jakarta-based Oh, Stef! Cakes which was established in 2018 but has only recently launched its own line of bento cakes in June. Its founder Stefanie said, “We started to notice this trend of bento cakes originating from home bakeries in South Korea. We were inspired by their simple yet cute designs, combined with a delicate and homey touch, all in beautiful pastel colors. We’ve been making hundreds ever since.”
Bento cakes in mini-formats and at affordable price points can now be found in most parts of Indonesia, all thanks to online channels through social media and e-commerce which made marketing even easier.
During the pandemic, many Indonesians buy these little cakes as treats for special occasions like birthdays and other celebrations. With social distancing measures and restrictions, these special occasions are kept to a smaller capacity while Indonesians seek to minimise their spending.