Kantar Worldpanel’s business group director Vincent Shao revealed that China’s instant noodle market has picked up in the past 12 months after dropping for three consecutive years.
Research shows consumers are being drawn back by the always innovative industry.
According to the World Instant Noodles Association, 3.3% increase in the instant noodle consumption has occurred to China last year, which makes China the largest market per global consumption.
Furthermore this data is supported by the numbers Nielsen showed in the first six months of 2019 showing instant noodle sales in China rose by 7.5% year-on-year.
It is to be remembered though that in 2015 hit a recession with instant noodle sales start failing to almost 40 billion units in the succeeding year. For the same reason, many consumers have opted online food delivery services over instant noodles.
On the contrary, Shao explains that this time, the industry faced a direct challenge from booming online food delivery services.
They think that consumers started to choose online food deliveries over instant noodles due to the lower cost of meals and discounts being offered.
A 23% increase year on year was shown by Meituan Research Institute revealing more than 200 billion yuan online food delivery market.
An interesting fact revealed by the School of Economics and Management at the China University of Geosciences, reveals that when the online food delivery market grows by 1% consumption of instant noodles falls by about 0.05%. Discounts significantly reduced in the past year, thus the online food delivery market has rather slowed down, with some consumers switching back to buying instant noodles, Shao said.
One important move of instant noodle makers promote healthier recipes and more innovative cooking techniques, which have become popular among customers.
Roland Berger China’s Felix Ma recalled that instant noodles were once regarded as Chinese junk foods making health conscious individuals turn their backs on instant noodles. But such perception were just exaggerated as manufaturers work on it to relate their line of products to the great imortance of health concept.
The industry in general has made efforts to imporove the products’ flavor incorporating more fresh vegetables or meat in the cup. Producers have also used chicken or rib soup, traditionally healthy Chinese soup.
Instant noodle Master Kong scored over 31% increase in its revenue as compared to last year. It i sgeared to innovating and upgrading its products to offer better ingredients, better cooking technology and better taste.
Recently ithas recorded over 66% market share in developed areas in China.
Express series of instant noodles has targeted middle-class consumers whose flavors are as good as noodles available in restaurants. Moreover it has recently launched a series of new products that meet the needs of young families with children.
The company has also diversified its products to match different scenarios. Master Kong tailor-made an Express series of instant noodles for Chinese winter sports athletes, based on their eating habits and nutritional needs.
On the other hand, domestic instant noodle maker Jinmailang, registered a double-digit growth both last and this year.
One series of products has been particularly in demand, A variant comes in a larger-size cup, , reaching sales more than 4 billion yuan. The product used cups one-and-a-half times bigger, to satisfy consumers’ hunger.
Fan Xianguo says that the consumption of instant noodles is ought to be stable in terms of quantity but the market could be triggered due to the improvement of its quality. Indeed, consumer needs are changing.
In order to change the perception of instant noodles being unhealthy, companies use freezing and steaming techniques to make its products taste more like freshly-cooked dishes, adding fried ingredients to some.
There is also a move to diversify their sales channels. They have expanded its sales to South Korea bringing Chinese flavor to overseas markets.
Chinese consumers are willing to try new products or those of niche brands. Nowadays, many well-known and high-end products sold online proved to be extremely popular with consumers, as they have added more variety to the instant noodle market.
With life’s pace being extremely fast, people are becoming reluctant to cook. But due to the fact that there is also an increase in the number of single people, more consumers are looking for ‘food for one’.