A shift in culinary tastes is evident as a global cost of living crisis takes hold. This trend can be seen in the growing global demand for instant ramen. It is a pantry staple that is known for its affordability and simplicity.
The World Instant Noodles Association estimates that the consumption of instant noodles in 2022 will reach a record 121.2 billion worldwide.
The escalating prices of food largely drove the trend due to inflation.
Instant ramen is becoming increasingly popular as consumers, particularly those in the middle class, seek out cost-effective options.
Nissin Foods, a maker of instant noodles, said that middle-class consumers are incorporating instant noodles into their daily diet.
Instant noodles have been in high demand in the local market, from 400 million servings in 2018 to 450 million in 2022.
This is equivalent to more than 17.5 servings of fruit and vegetables per capita, which indicates a significant trend for growth in the Australian market.
In supermarkets in Australia, such as Woolworths and Coles, instant noodles are available for as little as $1.00 for a single serving or $3.95 per pack of five.
Instant ramen has seen a noticeable increase in countries without a traditional noodle culture. This includes the United States and Mexico.
Demand in Mexico grew by 17.2 percent in 2021 and then continued to grow at 11 percent the following year.
In 2021, the US market saw an instant noodle decline of 1.4 percent. However, sales grew by 3.4 percent in 2022.
Nissin Foods, Toyo Suisan, and other leading companies in the instant noodles market are responding to the surge in demand.
Nissin Foods announced an expansion of US$228 (A$348m) in the US. This includes a new plant in South Carolina. Toyo Suisan has increased its flavor range in order to meet global tastes.
Toyo said that the number of people who regularly consume instant noodles was increasing. We will be expanding our range of flavors in the future.
The instant noodle business has also not been spared by the crisis in the cost of living.
Major noodle producers in Japan have been forced to raise prices by around 10 percent in 2022 and again in 2023 in response to rising costs for ingredients and packaging.