Instant noodles are an unusual product that is sold either as dried or precooked in bright packaging along with seasonings or tastemakers for added flavorings. They’re popular snack options as they can be easily stored, cooked can be modified in many ways after being prepared. So, in this sense, it fits the busy life of a consumer, especially those buyers who are inclined towards the whole ready-to-eat, easy-to-cook food trend. The other factors are that they have an extremely long shelf life, they cost practically nothing, there are several alternatives in terms of flavours and packaging sizes and they are easily available.
In recent years, the Instant Noodles Market in India has collected a big number of younger consumers from the millennial crowd, but its due to the innovation that’s being seen lately in the way noodles are being marketed for them – the introduction of unusual new flavours, packaging, nutritional values – in fact, it’s so big now, it’s even attracted a whole new wave of international and domestic players as well.
Some of the most popular players include Nestlé’s Maggi, Nissin’s Top Ramen Noodles and Wai-Wai. Recent players from the domestic arena include ITC Limited’s SunFeast and Yippee series, Ching's Secret, Knorr, Patanjali.
Recent players from the global arena include Mama Instant Noodles, Koka Noodles, Inbisco’s Joymee to name a few.
Instant noodles are targeted at the fast-paced consumer who prefers food items that are convenient to cook and are nutritious. This is the USP that manufacturers focus on for differentiating themselves; even creating a new manufacturing trend where they enhance the functional ingredients used to make their offerings. Wai Wai, for instance, shows their consumers how they can eat a single packet in three ways – boiled the regular ways, in the dried form and as soup with the addition of extra water. They even add three kinds of seasonings/tastemakers as well, so the consumer can customize the taste to their liking.
Then, Maggi some years back in the ’80s and 90’s sold their noodles packets with these recipe books that expanded on ways that their noodles could be cooked. This fulfilled two goals – to help their consumers find exciting ways to eat Maggi, and the other was to establish how useful or convenient their product really was.
It seemed to have worked because today, consumers have their own ways to prepare this one product. They even had a ‘My Maggi’ marketing campaign-contest where selected winners got their recipes displayed on a special, limited edition packaging as well.
What this drives to, is just how essential this food item has become, even playing a critical part in building a formidable Instant Noodles Market in India scene that is attracting noodles from Korea, China, Japan as well, even introducing new flavours to try to widen their consumer base and product portfolio.
One thing they are banking on is the health-conscious consumer that wants to snack healthy. Global manufacturers are trying to bring in their noodles items that have more natural ingredients in them. While the domestic players try to revamp their old-favourites with healthy stuff.