Instant Noodles – Flexible food for many occasions

With piles of work pending at office and the household chores calling for attention, when cooking seems like an uphill task or when one is bored of the regular meal and feels like eating something fun, instant noodles come to the rescue of every household. It is because of this flexibility that noodles have now taken a permanent place in Indian kitchens. Today this category is widely available in two formats – packed noodles and cup noodles.

The total ready to cook market has been growing at 15-20% since the last five years and current times have ensured that this category will continue to show a growing trend. A prominent subset of this category, the instant noodles market is expected to grow at CAGR of 4.6% until 2024 to become INR 632 Crores. India ranks fifth in the global demand for instant noodles after China, Indonesia, Japan, and Vietnam. In comparison with other Asian markets, the per capita consumption of instant noodles in India comes to two packets per person per year, which indicates that there is a huge scope for growth.

The instant noodles market was once dominated by Nestlé Maggi, but companies like CG Foods, ITC Sunfeast Yippie, Nissin, Capital Foods, Hindustan Unilever have increased the activity in this category and are trying to gain a larger share of the growing market.

We at Symega have been tracking the trends supporting the continual growth of this category and have designed ingredients that help manufacturers in their pursuit to stand out.

Emotional food

Instant noodles have developed into an emotional food category. This is evident from the surge in demand for noodles pre-lockdown; anticipating shortages, consumers were stocking up on their comfort food. The product brings with it positive connotations of warmth, comfort, and satisfaction. Nestle Maggi being the first mover in the instant noodle category has been described as emotionally satisfying food. According to Suresh Narayanan, Managing Director of Nestlé India some consumers described making Maggi at 3am as therapy. These positive associations will continue drive the market.

Food for multiple occasions

Instant foods have been traditionally positioned as snack between meals. Knorr had also done a campaign, positioning its products for the 4pm hunger. But according to a Mintel report, about 38% of Indian consumers ate noodles for breakfast and 20% consumed it in between meals. Some people also substitute them for meals. This shows the versatility of the product and indicates that instant noodles can be positioned for different consumption occasions beyond snacking. Flavours could be the key to introducing different variants for different meal times.

At multiple price points

Instant noodles interestingly have two important segments of consumers. The growth of the category is driven by working-class consumers and hence new products need to be available at affordable price points. The expansion of the category is to be driven by new tastes and flavours at affordable price points which deliver variety in taste. Consumers are also seeking healthier variants and this will also impact the category. Thus companies need to plan their portfolio to address different consumer segments at different price points and formats within.

Symega offers a wide range of seasonings to create the noodles for every occasion.

Our seasonings are a perfect blend of spices, to give a unique taste to your instant noodles and make the product standout in a burgeoning market. Our range of seasonings include flavours inspired by ethnic traditions, an indulgent range to tease and satisfy your desire for umami, the trending range to keep up with the constantly evolving taste preferences, the classics for the evergreen comfort feel!

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