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Instant Noodles - China - January 2017

“The instant noodle category is facing great challenges as demographic changes are reshaping the main consumer group of the category. Manufacturers should take action and respond to consumers’ upgraded needs to stay competitive. A multi-brand strategy and clear positioning will enable more precise targeting and strengthen brand loyalty.”
– Cheryl Ni, Research Analyst - Food & Drink

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • Adopt multi-brand strategy and clarify sub-brands’ proposition
  • Design snacking options specifically targeting women 
  • Market instant noodles as comforting food

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • Figure 1: Definition of heavy/medium/occasional/non-user categories, by frequency of instant noodles consumption
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Slump market failing to catch up with consumers’ health needs
              • Figure 2: Best- and worst-case forecast of instant noodles retail market value, China, 2011-21
              • Figure 3: Retail market volume of instant noodles in China, 2011-21
            • Key players
              • Multi-brand strategy retaining heavy users and attracting non-users
                • Figure 4: Retail value of leading companies in instant noodles market, China, 2014-15
              • Premiumisation and innovation through various approaches
                • The consumer
                  • A large number of heavy users suggests further scope
                    • Figure 5: Frequency of eating instant noodles in the last 6 months, by occasion, China, October 2016
                  • Master Kong and Uni-president are the top two players
                    • Figure 6: Instant noodle brands consumed most often (above 1%) in the last 6 months, China, October 2016
                    • Figure 7: Percentage of target user groups of two major brands, by usage frequency, China, October 2016
                  • Females expect alternative options
                    • Figure 8: Ideal flavouring soup, sauces and seasonings, China, October 2016
                  • Consumers embrace healthier options
                    • Figure 9: Ideal flavouring ingredients, China, October 2016
                    • Figure 10: Ideal types of noodles, China, October 2016
                  • Unique flavours can win some restaurant-lovers back
                    • Figure 11: Percentage of replacement options selected as first choice, China, October 2016
                  • Instant noodles should gain the reputation as “tasty”
                    • Figure 12: Perception of instant noodles, China, October 2016
                  • Modifying packaging to shift the negative image
                    • Figure 13: Health perceptions of components, China, October 2016
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Adopt multi-brand strategy and clarify sub-brands’ proposition
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                            • Figure 14: Uni-President’s new products, China, 2016
                            • Figure 15: A Kuan’s product, China, 2016
                          • Design snacking options specifically targeting women
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Figure 16: Percentage of products with select claims, China and Taiwan, 2016
                                • Figure 17: Products claiming to have low calories, Taiwan and Japan, 2016
                              • Market instant noodles as comforting food
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 18: Products claiming to use traditional cooking method or remind one of home, Malaysia and South Korea, 2015-16
                                    • Figure 19: Frozen pizza claimed to contain stress-reducing ingredients, USA, 2016
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Slump market failing to catch up with consumers’ health needs
                                    • Demographic changes shifting the major target groups
                                      • Imported products posing promising growth
                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                          • Figure 20: Average crude palm oil price for Peninsular Malaysia, 2015-16
                                          • Figure 21: Best- and worst-case forecast of instant noodles retail market value, China, 2011-21
                                          • Figure 22: Retail market volume of instant noodles in China, 2011-21
                                      • Market Segmentation

                                        • Cup/bowl seeing further growth
                                          • Figure 23: Retail market value of instant noodles in China, by segment, 2013-16
                                        • Concerns over disposable accessories calling for improvement
                                        • Market Drivers and Challenges

                                          • Decreasing working-age population bringing down the consumption
                                            • Accelerating urbanisation as opportunity
                                              • Imported products bucking the market trend
                                                • Figure 24: Leading countries that export instant noodle products to China, 2015-16
                                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                              • Multi-brand strategy retaining heavy users and attracting non-users
                                                • Premiumising products through various approaches
                                                  • Innovation around packaging and experiential store
                                                  • Market Share

                                                    • Uni-President wins with multi-brand strategy targeting both high- and low-end markets
                                                      • Figure 25: Retail value of leading companies in instant noodles market, China, 2014-15
                                                    • Lack of innovation causing unsatisfactory performance
                                                      • Robust performance in foreign brands
                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                        • Meal supplement instead of meal replacement
                                                          • Figure 26: Instant noodles on the menu of a Budae Jjigae restaurant, China, 2016
                                                        • Partnership with KOL to boost awareness and drive trial
                                                          • Creating unique mouth-feel by offering multi-texture
                                                            • Figure 27: Texture claims of instant noodle products, Japan, China, Indonesia and South Korea, 2016
                                                            • Figure 28: Products claiming to have thick, crispy or crunchy ingredients, China and South Korea, 2016
                                                          • Opportunity for competing with healthier product options
                                                            • Natural ingredients
                                                              • Figure 29: Percentage of products with natural claim, China and Taiwan, 2016
                                                              • Figure 30: Product with authentic/natural claims, China and Taiwan, 2016
                                                            • No/low/reduced sodium
                                                              • Figure 31: Percentage of products with select claims, China, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, 2016
                                                              • Figure 32: Products with low/now/reduced sodium claim, South Africa, Mexico and Japan, 2016-17
                                                            • A source of dietary fibre
                                                              • Figure 33: Percentage of products claim to have dietary fibre, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, 2016
                                                              • Figure 34: Products claiming to contain rich fibre, Japan, 2016
                                                            • Super foods
                                                              • Figure 35: Instant noodle and ready meal product containing super foods, Taiwan and USA, 2016
                                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                                            • Innovative packaging style targeting young consumers
                                                              • Figure 36: Products with innovative packaging, China, 2015-16
                                                            • Novel idea from adjacent categories
                                                              • Seasonal special edition
                                                                • Figure 37: Seasonal special editions of instant noodles, Japan, 2016
                                                              • Customisation experience
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Heavy users tend to be sophisticated high earners
                                                                  • Females expecting alternative options
                                                                    • Solely associated with convenience
                                                                    • Frequency of Eating Instant Noodles

                                                                      • Midnight occasion triggers frequent consumption
                                                                        • Figure 38: Frequency of eating instant noodles in the last 6 months, by occasion, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 39: Percentage of consumers who have eaten instant noodles once a week or more under different occasions in the last 6 months, by gender and age, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Families with kids are more engaged
                                                                        • Figure 40: Percentage of consumers who have eaten instant noodles once a week or more under different occasions in the last 6 months, by family structure, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Regional differences
                                                                        • Figure 41: Penetration of instant noodles, by region, China, October 2016
                                                                      • High earners tend to be heavy users
                                                                        • Figure 42: Percentage of target groups, by usage frequency, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 43: Percentage of heavy users, by monthly household income, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Instant Noodle Brands Consumed Most Often

                                                                      • Master Kong and Uni-president are the top two players
                                                                        • Figure 44: Instant noodle brands consumed most often (above 1%) in the last 6 months, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 45: Usage frequency, by brand loyal users, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 46: Loyal users of Master Kong and Uni-President, by monthly household income, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Low recall of sub-brand names
                                                                        • Figure 47: Word cloud of brands favoured by consumers, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 48: Penetration of select instant noodle brands, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Most Appealing Features of Instant Noodles

                                                                      • Females need small portions (at least seemingly)
                                                                        • Figure 49: Ideal packaging, by gender, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 50: Repackaged products in 70g pack, China, 2016
                                                                      • Females and heavy users love dry or crispy noodles
                                                                        • Figure 51: Ideal ways of preparation/eating, by gender, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Regional difference influence preparation preference
                                                                        • Figure 52: Ideal ways of preparation/eating, by region, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Consumers expect more vegetable elements
                                                                        • Figure 53: Ideal flavouring ingredients, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 54: Ideal flavouring ingredients, by gender and age, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 55: Products featuring vegetables as main flavour ingredients, South Korea and Taiwan, 2016
                                                                        • Figure 56: Ideal flavouring ingredients, by city, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 57: Ideal flavouring soup, sauces and seasonings, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 58: Select flavourings preferred by ideal ways of preparation, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Consumers embrace more nutritious noodles
                                                                        • Figure 59: Ideal types of noodles, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 60: Ideal types of noodle, by gender, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Competitor Categories

                                                                      • Speed is the key
                                                                        • Figure 61: Percentage of replacement options selected as first choice, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Unique flavours can win restaurant-lovers
                                                                        • Figure 62: Percentage of consumers who prefer exotic flavours, by consumer groups, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Perception of Instant Noodles

                                                                      • Instant noodles yet to gain the reputation of being “tasty”
                                                                        • Figure 63: Perception of instant noodles, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Young consumers are struggling between guilty food and health
                                                                        • Figure 64: Select perception of instant noodles, by gender and age, China, October 2016
                                                                        • Figure 65: Selected perceptions of instant noodles, by ways of preparing, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Instant noodles can be positioned as mood food
                                                                        • Figure 66: Select perception of instant noodles, by consumption frequency, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Unhealthy Product Components

                                                                      • Strong health concerns over packaging
                                                                        • Figure 67: Health perceptions of components, China, October 2016
                                                                      • Regional differences
                                                                        • Figure 68: Health perceptions of components, by city, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                      • MinTs moving away from Master Kong
                                                                        • Figure 69: Consumers who eat products of Master Kong or Uni-President most often, by consumer classification, China, October 2016
                                                                      • MinTs tend to be flavour explorers
                                                                        • Figure 70: Ideal flavouring soup, sauces and seasonings, by consumer classification, China, October 2016
                                                                      • MinTs show fewer health concerns and higher appreciation of the category
                                                                        • Figure 71: Select perception of instant noodles, by consumer classification, China, October 2016
                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                        • Figure 72: Value sales of China’s instant noodle retail market, 2011-21
                                                                        • Figure 73: Volume sales of China’s instant noodle retail market, 2011-21
                                                                    • Appendix – Methodology, Definition, and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                                          • Abbreviations

                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                          Instant Noodles - China - January 2017

                                                                          US $3,990.00 (Excl.Tax)