Packet noodle sales rise on 'fresh' texture
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News NetworkTOKYO -- Instant noodles have long been a staple but there has been a new boom in those sold in packets, as food manufacturers have introduced new textures based on those of fresh noodles.
February 19, 2013, 12:37 am TWN
The boom was sparked by new production methods, launched by manufacturers in line with the reappraisal of instant noodles as preserved food in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Increased budget-consciousness among housewives has also added fuel to the fire, prompting many instant noodle makers to ramp up their production facilities.
One popular product, Nissin Raoh by Nissin Food Products Co., which appeared last August in limited markets such as the Kanto region, is “showing strong sales even without offering discounts,” said company President Susumu Nakagawa. “Our production capacity has fallen short of demand (for Nissin Raoh).”
The company said it reproduced the texture of fresh noodles by creating a product comprising three layers, exhibiting firmness on the inside and springiness on the outside.
The method had previously been used for instant noodles sold in cups, but its application to those sold in packets has proved more successful as the noodles are simmered for several minutes, according to Nissin.
Nissin fortified its noodle production capacity toward the end of 2012, and Nissin Raoh will hit stores nationwide from March 25. The firm plans to further adjust capacity this summer to turn out 300 million packets of the product per year.
The company that spearheaded the production of the fresh-noodle variety was Toyo Suisan Kaisha Ltd., which launched Maruchan Seimen in November 2011. The firm sold 200 million packets of the noodles in its first year of marketing them, Toyo Suisan Kaisha said.
The company has set the goal of selling 300 million packets of Maruchan Seimen per year by investing 1.5 billion yen to strengthen its production capacity.
Another major foodstuffs company, Sanyo Foods Co., has been aggressively marketing Sapporo Ichiban Men no Chikara since September 2012.
The output of instant noodles sold in packets peaked at 3.7 billion packets in fiscal 1972, but the figure declined to 1.68 billion in fiscal 2010, according to Nihon Sokuseki Shokuhin Kogyo Kyokai (Japan instant food industry association).
That was because instant noodles sold in packets were less popular than those sold in cups, which can be prepared easily and quickly, industry sources said. But the shipments of noodles in packets rose to 1.77 billion packets in fiscal 2011, the industry association said.
With sales of 1.9 billion packets expected for fiscal 2012 and 2 billion for fiscal 2013, demand has continued to soar, allowing the instant noodle market to gain steam thanks to new production methods.