Is the golden age of instant noodles coming back?
Statistics released by the world instant noodle association in late September show that Chinese people consumed 40.25 billion servings of instant noodles in 2018, with the average person eating 30 packets per year, ranking first in the world. As a national food, instant noodles not only carry the memory of several generations, but also experience the process from the high tide to the low tide to the recovery, what kind of future will the instant noodles industry have?
Takeaway PK drop instant noodles
In 1958, momofuku ando, a Japanese of Chinese origin, borrowed the inspiration of Fried tempura and Fried noodles in high temperature to make a dry pancake with countless holes. The pancake could be quickly softened by adding boiling water. This chicken ramen is the world's first packet of instant noodles.
In many memories of the post-80s and post-90s, boiling a bowl of instant noodles with an egg and a ham sausage was the perfect meal to go with. According to the data of the world instant noodle association, from 2000 to 2004, the annual sales of instant noodles in China increased by 20% ~ 30%, and braised beef noodles sold 5 billion packets, a record that is now beyond the reach of many web celebrity hot style products.
However, since 2013, the market demand for instant noodles has suddenly decreased, and customers have been pulled away by crazy subsidies from various platforms. The price of ordering take-out food is even cheaper than that of eating instant noodles. The take-out food has traded the price for the market growth for years, and the growth rate once exceeded 100%. At the same time, the market supermarkets, convenience stores, snack e-commerce and other catering channels are increasingly rich, eating instant noodles is no longer the first choice.
Instant noodles seem to have been abandoned by consumers. According to the world instant noodle association, China's instant noodle market was 44.4 billion units sold in 2014, but it started to decline gradually in 2015 and reached a low point of 38.52 billion units sold in 2016. At that time, the instant noodle industry entered a general decline period, and the takeaway food began to gain customers through subsidies and rose rapidly.
According to the 2016-2017 research report on China's online food and beverage delivery market released by imedia consulting, from 2011 to 2016, the size of China's food and beverage delivery market increased from 21.68 billion yuan to 166.24 billion yuan, an increase of nearly eight times in six years and an annual growth rate of more than 100%. A study by the school of economics and management of China university of geosciences, "analysis of factors influencing the consumption of instant noodles", also shows that for every 1% increase in the size of domestic and foreign markets, the consumption of instant noodles decreases by 0.0533%.
Industry experts told China economic weekly that the drop in demand for instant noodles is also linked to a drop in the number of migrant workers, its biggest consumer group.
The sight of the rickety, steamy, steamy train is a national memory of travel. According to the national bureau of statistics, from 2011 to 2016, the growth rate of migrant workers continued to decline from 3.4 percent to 0.1 percent, and the demand for instant noodles on trains decreased with the increase in train speed and the popularity of high-speed rail catering.
Instant noodles were once considered "junk food," saying they were Fried, high in calories, added preservatives and lacked nutrients. Instant noodles enterprise, therefore, almost every year to spend a lot of energy to the rumor "instant noodles carcinogenic said" wait for food safety knowledge, because according to the department of food safety testing, whether or not Fried Fried instant noodles, instant noodles in the so-called carcinogen acrylamide content on average was only about 15 ~ 80 micrograms/kg, long-term edible won't cause cancer.
High-end products into growth momentum
After three years of lackluster growth in China's instant noodle market, overall sales in 2017 edged up 0.3 percent to 3.6 percent, according to market researcher Nielsen. In 2018, the sales volume increased by 3.2% and the sales volume increased by 8%, with the growth rate greatly accelerated.
According to the 2018 annual report of instant noodle manufacturer uni-president enterprise China (00220.hk), uni-president instant noodles generated 8.425 billion yuan in revenue in 2018, up 5.7% year-on-year, with a net profit of 461 million yuan. The 2017 profit was 412 million yuan, up 11.89% year-on-year.
In fact, high-end instant noodles do play an important role in the recovery of the instant noodle market.
According to the 2018 annual report of master kong holdings (00322.hk), the company's revenue in 2018 reached 60.686 billion yuan, up 2.94% year on year. Among them, the instant noodles business, which accounts for 39% of the revenue, increased 5.73% year on year, with the revenue reaching 23.917 billion yuan. In the revenue of instant noodles, the revenue from container noodles increased by 5.5%, and the revenue from premium bag noodles increased by 10.61% year on year. The revenue from mid-price bag noodles, flat bag noodles and other products declined, and the revenue from premium bag noodles accounted for 40%, 2 percentage points higher than that in 2017, reflecting the trend of product upgrading.
According to the 2018 annual report of uni-president China, the company's instant noodle product structure has also improved, with its medium and high-priced brand "tangdanda" becoming the growth engine of the company's instant noodle business, driving the improvement of profitability.
Zhu danpeng, a food industry analyst, told China economic weekly that the decline in instant noodle sales over the past few years was due to the failure of the industry to match the core needs and demands of consumers. With the corresponding innovation and upgrading of the industrial side, consumers' dependence and purchase frequency will gradually recover.
Meng suhe, President of the China association of food science and technology, told China economic weekly that the instant noodle industry has revived its vitality in the process of diversified consumption upgrading. Instant noodles are transforming into healthy and nutritious products.
Finding new species finding new needs
Currently, domestic instant noodle companies are facing competition from imported brands and other high-end convenience foods. In the context of consumption upgrading, web celebrity foods such as convenient small hot pot, convenient sour and spicy noodles, convenient snail noodles and so on are very popular. These products are also attractive in packaging and not cheap.
The person in charge of white elephant company expresses, in market diversification today, the taste of 95 hind, 00 hind also is no longer before traditional stewed beef noodles, a lot of enterprises also depend on new taste to win over the stomach of new consumer crowd. White elephant has launched three web celebrity products, including the traditional old Beijing pot belly and sichuan style spicy dishes that are popular throughout the country. With the salted egg yolk popular around the world with the dessert plate; First drink soup and then skewer after the string of wordy powder string hot and sour rock super hot and sour powder.
Fan xianguo, chairman of today's malang, told China economic weekly that the decline in the instant noodle industry in the past few years was not a market problem but a lack of innovation by industry-leading enterprises. "It's not that consumers don't want it, it's that there are better products to replace it. For the instant noodle industry, takeaway is both a competition and a promotion. When takeaway can be easily delivered, young people's time in the kitchen will be greatly reduced, which brings opportunities to instant noodles at the same time. We need to find new species, create new demand, and within five years, give instant noodles the taste of home without frying."
Can the instant noodles market prosper for a long time? Meng suhe, President of the China food science and technology association, said that 2018-2019 is a "trial and error period" for noodle companies to explore the future competition mode and development path, and that companies will have a relatively clear choice in 2020. Liu jingsheng, vice President of jilin agricultural university, said that China's convenience food industry can only capture consumers' stomachs if it has the ability to innovate in different ingredients and tastes.