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Instant Noodles - China - March 2012

"Until recently, China’s instant noodles market was facing the dilemma of having become a mature market with stagnant growth, despite the continued rapid economic growth of the country. The success of instant noodles in reaching this position was based on their convenience, but little had been done to maintain product innovation, and consumers had begun to take them for granted. Meanwhile, other snack and convenience meal markets were growing fast, and taking share of consumer spending, and interest, away."


- Matthew Crabbe, Research Director Mintel APAC

 

In this report we answer the following questions:

  • How can instant noodles shake off their commodity image, and become interesting to consumers again?
  • How are instant noodles using flavours and packaging to develop value added status, and what more can be done?
  • What are the differences between key consumer groups and how can they be encouraged to eat more instant noodles?
  • What premium features will attract more consumers to the instant noodle market?

 

Report Introduction:

Until recently, China’s instant noodles market was facing the dilemma of having become a mature market with stagnant growth, despite the continued rapid economic growth of the country. The success of instant noodles in reaching this position was based on their convenience, but little had been done to maintain product innovation, and consumers had begun to take them for granted. Meanwhile, other snack and convenience meal markets were growing fast, and taking share of consumer spending, and taking interest away.

New product flavouring and packaging developments have helped to reignite some consumer interest, but instant noodles could be providing many more convenience and premium features that they are not yet offering, and which competing markets are. For example, Chinese consumers have become increasingly concerned about health issues, yet instant noodles product development, until very recently, had barely touched on health as a key marketing feature.

Chinese consumer lifestyles have become very much more diverse with rapid economic change, and consumption patterns between different segments have diverged into different needs. But instant noodles are only beginning to react to the differing lifestyle needs of many different potential consumer groups, and there is a significant amount that can be done to demonstrate to different consumer groups in China that instant noodles can be relevant to their lives.

Average consumer incomes have grown very quickly in recent years, but instant noodles have failed to keep up with the rising desire among consumers for better quality and higher value products. That is now changing, and there are many avenues of premiumisation that the industry can follow to raise consumer interest and relevance. There also many new means of delivery to market that have not yet been fully explored in the context of instant noodles, and innovation in this area can add to attraction of convenience that instant noodles have.

 

Liqueurs - UK - January 2012

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The market
          • The forecast
            • Figure 1: Forecast – Volume sales of instant noodles, 2006-16
            • Figure 2: Forecast – Value sales of instant noodles, 2006-16
          • Companies
            • Figure 3: Instant noodles market share, by value, 2011
          • Issues in the market
            • Innovation can spark life into mature market
              • Figure 4: Instant noodles consumption patterns, by time of day, by gender, December 2011
            • Healthier noodles can sustain consumer interest
              • Figure 5: Attitudes to instant noodles’ health aspects, December 2011
            • ‘Convenience’ alone is not enough
              • Premiumisation the future of market growth
                • Figure 6: Attitudes to spending on instant noodles and food budgets, December 2011
            • The Market – A Snapshot

              • Instant noodles being left behind by wider economic growth
                • Figure 7: Total sales of instant noodles by volume and value, 2006-11
                • Figure 8: total retail sales by value, 2006-11
                • Figure 9: Convenience meals and snacking sectors total market size by value, 2006-11
              • The leading companies
                • Figure 10: Instant noodles market share, by value, 2009-11
            • Innovation Can Spark Life into Mature Market

              • Issues at a glance
                • Competitive marketplace challenges growth
                  • Figure 11: Frequency of eating instant noodles, December 2011
                  • Figure 12: Savoury snacks and instant noodle consumption, by time of day, December 2011
                  • Figure 13: Total market value growth rates of snacking and convenience meals, 2007-11
                  • Figure 14: New product launches of meat snacks and instant noodles in China, 2009-11
                • Mature market creates need for product segmentation
                  • Figure 15: Attitudes towards new instant noodle products, by gender, December 2011
                  • Figure 16: Instant noodles consumption, by time of day, by gender, December 2011
                  • Figure 17: Flavours of instant noodles consumed, by gender, December 2011
                • Lunchtime consumption has become a target
                  • Regional flavour variations provide opportunity to diversify
                    • Stronger flavours stimulate interest
                      • Packaging offers visual innovation
                        • What does it mean?
                        • Healthier Noodles Can Sustain Consumer Interest

                          • Issues at a glance
                            • Health is becoming a more prevalent issue in food markets
                                • Figure 18: Attitudes to instant noodles’ health aspects, December 2011
                                • Figure 19: Attitudes to instant noodles’ health aspects, by gender, December 2011
                              • Consumer health needs are not being met by NPD
                                • Figure 20: Top nine claims for instant noodle products launched in China, 2009-11
                              • Health issue has been underestimated
                                • Healthier formulations are being introduced
                                    • Figure 21: % of fried and non-fried new instant noodle products, 2010-11
                                  • Inconsistent labelling weakens healthier message
                                    • What does it mean?
                                    • ‘Convenience’ Alone is Not Enough

                                      • Key issues
                                        • Success brings new challenges
                                          • Cup/bowl noodles lag behind in innovation
                                            • Figure 22: China – Instant noodles: Market volume and value, by sector, 2006-11
                                            • Figure 23: Annual total market value growth rates of snacking and convenience meals, 2011
                                            • Figure 24: New instant noodle product launches, by packaging type, 2010-11
                                          • Innovation can meet changing market needs
                                            • Figure 25: Agreement with the statement “I don’t have the time to cook from scratch”, by age and marital status, December 2011
                                            • Figure 26: Consumer attitudes to health, exercise and special offers, by age group and marital status, December 2011
                                          • Convenience can appeal better to working mothers
                                            • Increasing convenience with cross-sector product marketing
                                              • Figure 27: Instant noodles purchasing habits, December 2011
                                            • What does it mean?
                                            • Premiumisation Can Drive Market Growth

                                              • Key points
                                                • Market maturity creates dependence on added value
                                                  • Figure 28: Leading ethical claims for new noodles products launched, 2009-11
                                                  • Figure 29: Instant noodles average price, by packaging type, 2007-11
                                                  • Figure 30: Percentage of new product launches in the Chinese instant noodles market, by average price bracket, 2010-11
                                                • Wage growth has created a natural demand for premium products
                                                  • Figure 31: Attitudes to spending on instant noodles and food budgets, December 2011
                                                  • Figure 32: Average weekly consumer spending on instant noodles, December 2011
                                                • Premium products appeal for different reasons
                                                  • Premium products are expanding their range
                                                    • Luxury instant noodles
                                                      • Healthy instant noodles
                                                        • Organic instant noodles
                                                          • For children
                                                            • Recyclable packaging is rare, but will grow
                                                              • Major manufacturers are focusing on premium products to drive growth
                                                                  • Figure 33: China instant noodles company market share, by volume, 2009-11
                                                                  • Figure 34: China instant noodles company market share, by value, 2009-11
                                                                • Quartet of leading brands dominate the market
                                                                  • Figure 35: Instant noodles consumer brand purchasing, December 2011
                                                                • Master Kong can leverage foodservice experience
                                                                  • Private label set to increase influence
                                                                    • Figure 36: China top-100 retailers’ forecast sales and private label sales, 2010-14
                                                                    • Figure 37: Supermarket total outlets and share of total food retail sales, 2006-10
                                                                    • Figure 38: Tesco China private label sales volume, 2007-10
                                                                  • Retailer strength is growing across China
                                                                      • Figure 39: Consumer purchase locations of instant noodles, December 2011
                                                                    • What does it mean?
                                                                    • The Future of the Market

                                                                        • Figure 40: Forecast – Volume sales of instant noodles, 2006-16
                                                                        • Figure 41: Forecast – Value sales of instant noodles, 2006-16
                                                                      • Focus on premium will drive market development
                                                                        • Methodology
                                                                        • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes towards Food and Drink

                                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes toward food and drink, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 43: Attitudes toward food and drink, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 44: Attitudes toward food and drink, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 45: Attitudes toward food and drink, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                        • Appendix – Consumer – Consumption Habits

                                                                            • Figure 46: Frequency of eating instant noddles, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 47: Frequency of eating instant noddles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 48: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 49: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 50: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 51: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Time of Day Instant Noodles Are Usually Eaten
                                                                            • Figure 52: Time of day instant noodles are usually eaten, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 53: Time of day instant noodles are usually eaten, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 54: Time of day instant noodles are usually eaten, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 55: Time of day instant noodles are usually eaten, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                        • Appendix – Consumer – Purchasing Habits

                                                                            • Figure 56: Types of instant noodle ever bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 57: Types of instant noodle ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 58: Types of instant noodle ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 59: Types of instant noodle ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Instant Noodle Brands Ever Bought
                                                                            • Figure 60: Instant noodle brands ever bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 61: Instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 62: Instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 63: Instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Instant Noodle Brand Bought Most Often
                                                                            • Figure 64: Instant noodle brand bought most often, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 65: Instant noodle brand bought most often, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 66: Instant noodle brand bought most often, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 67: Instant noodle brand bought most often, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Location of Instant Noodles Purchase
                                                                            • Figure 68: Source of buying instant noodles, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 69: Source of buying instant noodles, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 70: Source of buying instant noodles, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 71: Source of buying instant noodles, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Average Weekly Spending on Instant Noodles?
                                                                            • Figure 72: Average weekly spending on instant noodles, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 73: Average weekly spending on instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 74: Average weekly spending on instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 75: Average weekly spending on instant noodles, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer – Flavour of Instant Noodle Bought
                                                                            • Figure 76: Flavour of instant noodle bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 77: Flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 78: Flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 79: Flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                          • Consumer - Flavour of Instant Noodle Bought Most Often
                                                                            • Figure 80: Flavour of instant noodle bought most often, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 81: Flavour of instant noodle bought most often, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 82: Flavour of instant noodle bought most often, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                        • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes

                                                                            • Figure 83: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 84: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 85: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 86: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 87: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 88: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 89: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 90: Repertoire of instant noodle brands ever bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 91: Repertoire of instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 92: Repertoire of instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 93: Repertoire of instant noodle brands ever bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 94: Instant noodle brands ever bought, by repertoire of instant noodle brands ever bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 95: Repertoire of flavour of instant noodle bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 96: Repertoire of flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 97: Repertoire of flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 98: Repertoire of flavour of instant noodle bought, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 99: Flavours of instant noodle bought, by repertoire of flavour of instant noodle bought, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 100: Target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 101: Target groups, by demographics, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 102: Target groups, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 103: Target groups, by demographics, December 2011 (continued)
                                                                            • Figure 104: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 105: Frequency of eating instant noodles, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 106: Time of day instant noodles are usually eaten, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 107: Types of instant noodle ever bought, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 108: Instant noodle brands ever bought, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 109: Instant noodle brand bought most often, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 110: Instant noodle brand bought second most often, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 111: Source of buying instant noodles, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 112: Average weekly spending on instant noodles, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 113: Flavour of instant noodle bought, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 114: Flavour of instant noodle bought most often, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 115: Flavour of instant noodle bought second most often, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 116: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                            • Figure 117: Attitudes towards instant noodle consumption, by target groups, December 2011
                                                                        • Appendix – New Product Innovation

                                                                            • Figure 118: Top nine claims for instant noodle products launched in China, 2009-11
                                                                            • Figure 119: Percentage of fried and non-fried new instant noodle products, 2010-11
                                                                            • Figure 120: Leading ethical claims for new noodles products launched, 2009-11

                                                                        Companies Covered

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

                                                                        Instant Noodles - China - March 2012

                                                                        £3,195.84 (Excl.Tax)