Consumption falling in Asia
According to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), sales of instant noodles in China/Hong Kong and Indonesia, the world’s top two markets, are on a decline.
To arrest the decline, instant noodle companies are coming up with new strategies to reinvent the category.
Premium instant noodle new growth spot
In Indonesia, instant noodle is staple and is a cheap hot meal for the masses. The introduction of Mayora Indah’s Bakmi Mewah with real meat pieces at the end of 2015 and Indofood CBP’s Indomie Real Meal in 2016 has created a new premium category and a new growth engine for the instant noodle market.
Mayora expects 40% growth for Bakmi Mewah in 2017
Sales of Bakmi Mewah are expected to continue to remain strong. Vienno Monintja, the marketing director of Mayora Indah told the local business daily Kontan that the company expects Bakmi Mewah could achieve sales growth of 40% in 2017 compared with 2016. According to Vienno, the key trend is consumers want convenience but also would like to enjoy the taste of restaurant.
Bakmi Mewah marketing involves celebrity endorsement
Apart from being the first instant noodle with real meat pieces, Bakmi Mewah’s marketing also plays a key role in popularising the product. Its initial marketing effort focuses on getting the endorsement from well-known celebrities including Raffi Ahmad and Indy Barends.
The brand also sponsored the inaugural Usmai Ismail Awards 2016. The event saw celebrities who are influencers themselves sampling the noodle and giving good reviews. Social media in the form of user generated content is important in spreading the word.
Competition moves towards culinary creation
Image above is Bakmi Mewah’s latest TV commercial in January 2017
The new focus for Bakmi Mewah is elevating the noodle to something that one can get in a restaurant but can still enjoy in the comfort of one’s home.
The brand has partnered with Chef Chandra Yudasswara from Chefs Table where he created new sumptuous dishes using Bakmi Mewah. The partnership with chef Chandra and the positioning of the premium instant noodle as having a taste on par with restaurant serve to change consumer perception of instant noodle from a cheap pack of noodle to a gourmet meal.
Indomie searching for the unique mie
Mayora Indah’s competitor Indofood has just launched a new contest entitled #IndomieUniqmie. The contest is to create the most unique dish using Indomie instant noodle. It started on 23 January 2017 and will end on 23 April 2017. The competition was launched to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the birth of Indomie in Indonesia. Among the unique Indomie examples are Taco Indomie Rendang, Siomay Indomie and Burger Indomie.
Opportunities in foodservice
Instant noodles have already become part of the food commonly served by street hawkers in Indonesia. Recent initiatives by Indofood and Mayora Indah show they are upgrading instant noodles to become a gourmet food, something that is in line with the times. This means growing the usage of instant noodle in foodservice.
One of the reasons for having the IndomieUniqmie contest is to turn the creations into inspiration for people who wanted to become culinary entrepreneurs, said Julia Atma, general manager of marketing – noodle division PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur.
The choice of Nicky Tirta as the face of IndomieUniqmie contest befits the essence of the contest. Nicky himself is an actor and a passionate cook who hosted cooking shows.
Indomie Burrito in Los Angeles
Photo above comes from the Los Angeles Times
Instant noodle-based dish can become a hit like what Komodo in Los Angeles has done. The Indonesian-born chef named Erwin Tjahyadi who owns a popular food truck and chain of restaurants in the city has created the burrito stuffed with Indomie Goreng, steak, eggs and scallions turning it into the ultimate fusion food.
Thai President Foods selling ramen
In Thailand, Thai President Foods, the country’s biggest instant noodle maker, has formed a joint venture with Japan’s ramen noodle chain Kourakuen in June 2016 to operate Kourakuen ramen shops in Thailand. Thai President Foods will produce the raw noodles, while the Japanese partner will be in charge of handling the retail business.
What Mini Me thinks
It is all about elevating consumer experience with instant noodle to an all new level. The unique instant noodle creations could spark renewed interest in the category and expand its usage further down the foodservice chain.