It was in 1974 when Banana Flavored Milk first appeared in stores around Korea in its unique jug-shaped
It came out at a time when the Korean government was urging its citizens to drink more milk.
To encourage people, food and beverage manufacturer, Binggrae [ ] had the bright idea to "flavor" the milk with banana -- a fruit once considered a luxury.
"Bananas were expensive during that time, and not easily available. People appreciated just getting a taste of this fruit through this drink.
It was a big hit then, and it's still a big hit now, enjoyed by people of all ages.
"I like it because it's sweet. My friends like it, too, and drinking it makes us happy."
Over 800-thousand bottles are produced each day. as the company's factories strive to meet the demand.
In Korea alone, about 250-million bottles of banana milk are sold each year.
That means, in Korea an average person drinks about five a year.
Sales also back up the drink's increasing popularity.
From 92 billion won or about 90 million dollars in 2005, sales surpassed 148-million U.S. dollars in 2013.
"Overall, we believe the drink's unchanging nature makes it a success. The taste and look of the drink hasn't changed much over the past 40 years.// And in the next 40 years, we want to be a recognized global brand like Coca-Cola."
It's already being recognized in China.
Exports were a mere 500 million won in 2009but they reached 15- billion won or about 14.8 million U.S. dollars last year.
Officials credit the popularity of the Korean Wave and the increased number of Chinese tourists to Korea for the explosive growth.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.