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Noodles - China - January 2016

"The instant noodle market is forecast to stay flat over the next five years – declining a little due to consumers' increasing health consciousness. In order to drive business growth in the future, brands need to target the core users (people in their 20s) and take action to meet consumers' evolving eating preferences."

- Yujing Li, Senior Research Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

  • How can noodle brands target young consumers?
  • How can instant noodle brands respond to consumers' higher eating standards?
  • What are the regional differences in people's noodle eating habits and purchase factors?

This report provides information on the behavior of current packaged noodle consumers and instant noodle consumers. It goes into detail to understand which type of noodles consumers are more interested in and for which occasion they usually eat those noodle products. In the meantime, important consideration factors are also investigated in this report to guide brands in forming marketing and trade strategies.

This report covers the following two kinds of products:

  • Packaged noodles: this segment includes fresh, chilled and frozen noodles, either with or without added flavour sachets, side dishes or soups.
  • Instant noodles: this segment includes mainly pre-cooked and dried noodles sold with flavourings or side dishes, packed either in sachets/packets, cups/bowls or trays, which are usually consumed by being soaked or cooked in boiling water.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
          • Figure 1: Definition of East, South, West, North and Middle consumer groups
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Figure 2: Retail market value of instant noodles in China, 2010-20
          • Companies and brands
            • Figure 3: Value share of top 10 companies in instant noodle market, 2012-14
          • The Consumer
            • Ramen is the most popular type of noodle among consumer
              • Figure 4: Noodle types preferred, October 2015
            • Instant noodles become a snack for Chinese consumers
              • Figure 5: Occasions of eating noodles, October 2015
            • Noodles with traditional/local flavours win more consumers
              • Figure 6: Preferences towards flavours and cooking method, October 2015
            • Safety is the key factor to emphasise when marketing healthy packaged noodles
              • Figure 7: Healthy packaged noodle product, October 2015
            • High earners are open towards trying new brands
              • Figure 8: Attitudes towards instant noodle brands, by household income, October 2015
            • Health and taste come first as something consumers would be willing pay more for
              • Figure 9: Factors that consumers are willing to pay more for, October 2015
            • What we think
            • Issues and Insights

              • How can noodle brands target young consumers?
                • The facts
                  • The implications
                    • Figure 10: Examples of fun packaging in instant noodle products, Japan and China, 2014-15
                    • Figure 11: Examples of instant products which contain a fun element in product packaging, Japan and China, 2014-15
                  • How can instant noodle brands respond to consumers’ higher eating standards?
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Figure 12: Examples of instant noodle products which are enriched with vegetable or grains, USA and China, 2014
                      • What are the regional differences in people's noodle eating habits and purchase factors?
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Instant noodle market remained flat
                              • Consumers’ fast-moving pace of life and the development of prepared meals may impact the instant market
                                • Packet instant noodles account for higher value share but have lower growth
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                  • Instant noodle market remained flat
                                    • Figure 13: Retail market value of instant noodles in China, 2010-15
                                    • Figure 14: Retail market value of instant noodles in China, 2010-20
                                • Market Factors

                                  • Consumers’ busy lifestyles may hinder retail growth
                                    • Competition from prepared meals
                                      • Targeting consumers who are reluctant to give up junk food
                                      • Market Segmentation

                                        • Packet instant noodles account for higher value share but with lower growth
                                          • Figure 15: Retail market value of instant noodles in China, by segment, 2010-14
                                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                        • Instant noodle market is dominated by four leading companies
                                          • Instant noodle brands launched premium ranges to build a good image
                                            • Still room for instant noodles to grow in China
                                            • Market Share

                                              • Instant noodle market is very consolidated
                                                • Figure 16: Value share of top 10 companies in instant noodle market, 2012-14
                                            • Competitive Strategies

                                              • Instant noodle brands launched premium ranges and charged a higher selling price
                                                  • Figure 17: Revolutionary instant noodle products from Master Kong and Uni-President, 2014
                                                • Nissin ended its collaboration with Jinmailang
                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                  • Instant noodles
                                                    • Decline in new launches in 2015
                                                      • Figure 18: New product launches in the China instant noodle market, by launch types, 2011-15
                                                    • Convenience-related claims still top the list
                                                      • Figure 19: Top product claims in the China instant noodle product launch, 2011-15
                                                      • Figure 20: Selected claims in instant noodle product launches, by country, 2011-15
                                                    • Opportunities to launch products with organic claim
                                                      • Figure 21: Examples of instant noodle products with organic claims, Israel and UK, 2014-15
                                                    • The market looks for more flavour innovations
                                                      • Figure 22: Top product flavours in China instant noodle product launch, 2011-15
                                                      • Figure 23: Examples of instant noodle products focusing on refreshing benefit, Japan, 2015
                                                    • Packaged noodles
                                                      • Packaged noodle market is more active in terms of new product launches
                                                        • Figure 24: New product launches in the China packaged noodle market, by launch types, 2011-15
                                                      • ‘No additives/preservatives’ ranks as the most popular claim
                                                        • Figure 25: Top product claims in China packaged noodle product launches, 2011-15
                                                      • Room for promoting more products with “minus” claims
                                                        • Figure 26: New packaged noodle products with ‘minus’ claims, China, 2011-15
                                                        • Figure 27: ‘Minus’ claims in packaged noodle product launch, by country, 2011-15
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Instant noodles becomes a snack for consumers
                                                        • Safety is the key consideration factor for healthy packaged noodles
                                                          • Consumers’ conservative attitudes limit activity in instant noodle market
                                                            • Health and taste are the top two product features that consumers would like to pay more for
                                                            • Preferred Noodles Types

                                                              • Ramen is the most popular noodles
                                                                • Figure 28: Noodles types preferred, October 2015
                                                              • An opportunity to win over young consumers
                                                                • Figure 29: Noodle types preferred, by age, October 2015
                                                              • Wealthy people like to try unique noodle types
                                                                • Figure 30: Noodle types preferred, by monthly household income, October 2015
                                                              • Region has an impact on consumer eating preferences
                                                                • Figure 31: Noodles types preferred, by region, October 2015
                                                            • Occasions of Eating Noodles

                                                              • Instant noodle becomes a snack for Chinese consumers
                                                                • Figure 32: Occasions of eating noodles, October 2015
                                                              • Small packaged instant noodles offer scope to fulfil consumer needs
                                                                • Figure 33: Share of small packaged instant noodle in total instant noodle launches in China, 2015
                                                              • Instant noodle market is still led by young consumers
                                                                • Figure 34: Occasions of eating instant noodles, by age, October 2015
                                                              • An opportunity to promote premium noodle products
                                                                • Figure 35: Occasions of eating instant noodles, by personal monthly income and household monthly income, October 2015
                                                            • Preferences when Eating Noodles

                                                              • Consumers from the north and inland areas are more likely to rely on noodles as staple
                                                                • Figure 36: Preferences towards daily eating habits, by region, October 2015
                                                              • Demographic differences in noodle preferences
                                                                  • Figure 37: Preferences towards noodle types, October 2015
                                                                • People like to stock up and make noodles at home
                                                                  • Figure 38: Preferences towards purchase habits, October 2015
                                                                • Hot noodles with traditional/local flavours win more consumers
                                                                    • Figure 39: Preferences towards flavours and cooking method, October 2015
                                                                • Healthy Packaged Noodle Products

                                                                  • Safety is the dominant factor for healthy packaged noodles
                                                                    • Figure 40: Healthy packaged noodle product, October 2015
                                                                  • ‘Organic’ and ‘imported’ claims are vital to high earners
                                                                    • Consumers want noodles with “minus claims”
                                                                      • Figure 41: Examples of noodle products which have obvious “minus claims” on their package, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, 2015
                                                                    • Regional differences can influence people’s health standard as well
                                                                      • Figure 42: Healthy packaged noodle products, by region, October 2015
                                                                    • Chilled and international noodles have limited impact
                                                                    • Preferences when Eating Instant Noodles

                                                                      • Instant noodles packed in sachets/packs are more welcomed by consumers
                                                                        • Figure 43: Attitudes towards product package, by region, October 2015
                                                                      • Consumers’ conservative attitudes limit instant noodle market
                                                                        • Figure 44: Attitudes towards instant noodle brands, by household income, October 2015
                                                                      • Most consumers like to cook instant noodles by boiling them and eat them with personalised side dishes
                                                                        • Figure 45: Attitudes towards cooking instant noodles, October 2015
                                                                    • Factors that Consumers Would be Willing to Pay More for

                                                                      • Health and taste add scope for trading up
                                                                          • Figure 46: Factors that consumers are willing to pay more for, October 2015
                                                                        • Side dishes well placed to fulfil consumer needs
                                                                          • “Organic” and “manufactured by a famous restaurant” are key to charging a premium
                                                                            • Figure 47: Factors that consumers are willing to pay more for, by household income, October 2015
                                                                            • Figure 48: Examples of instant products which are designed to resemble flavours of famous restaurants, Japan, 2014-15
                                                                        • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                          • Mintropolitans are more likely to eat Udon
                                                                            • Figure 49: Noodle types preferred, by consumer classification, October 2015
                                                                          • Opportunities for healthy package noodle products
                                                                            • Figure 50: Healthy packaged noodle product, by consumer classification, October 2015
                                                                          • Instant noodles manufactured by famous restaurants have yet to take off
                                                                            • Figure 51: Factors that consumers are willing to pay more for, by consumer classification, October 2015
                                                                        • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                            • Figure 52: Retail value sales of instant noodles in China, 2010-20
                                                                        • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                            • Fan chart forecast
                                                                              • Mintropolitans
                                                                                • Why Mintropolitans?
                                                                                  • Who are they?
                                                                                    • Figure 53: Demographic profile of Mintropolitans vs Non-Mintropolitans, by gender, age and personal income
                                                                                    • Figure 54: Demographic profile of Mintropolitans vs Non-Mintropolitans, by marital status, city tier and education level
                                                                                  • Abbreviations

                                                                                  Companies Covered

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

                                                                                  Noodles - China - January 2016

                                                                                  £3,170.69 (Excl.Tax)