Mama index: Are instant noodles a guide to economic health?
Instant noodles are often talked about as an index of economic hardship because sales of this type of food tend to rise whenever people have less money.
The Thai government is currently trying to prevent instant noodle manufacturers from raising prices for fear that it will make life for poor people more difficult. However, some have pointed out that instant noodle sales may not be a good measure of the country's economic health.
Here is a quick look at the world of instant noodles
Vietnam passed South Korea to lead the consumption per capita of instant noodles in the world in 2021, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA).
The rate per person increased from 55 servings in 2019 to 72 servings in 2020 and 87 servings in 2021 for Vietnam, which was 73 servings in South Korea and 55 servings in Nepal, according to Nongshim, a leading noodle maker in South Korea.
Local media said Korea topped the world from 2013 to 2020. The tally was 75 servings in 2019, rising to 80 in 2020 but falling back down to 73 in 2021, while the figure for Vietnam has steadily increased from 55 in 2019 to 72 in 2020 and 87 in 2021, adding Vietnamese instant noodle market was growing rapidly, from US$5 billion in 2019 to $8.6 billion in 2021, reaching third in market size, following China and Indonesia.
A representative from Nongshim told the media: “Vietnam has a high purchasing power with its increasing economic growth rate. Also, people tend to eat at home rather than dining out due to Covid-19.”
Data said after the Covid-19 pandemic, instant noodle consumption in Vietnam skyrocketed. Overcoming India and Japan, in 2020, Vietnam became the third largest country in instant noodle consumption with 7 billion packages, up 29 per cent. In 2021 the country consumed more than 8.5 billion packages of noodles, up 22 per cent. In terms of growth rate, no market in the top 10 has surpassed Vietnam.
Insiders said that about 50 companies are currently producing instant noodles, including domestic and foreign enterprises, adding the market has been in a battle led by Acecook with the Hao Hao noodle brand, Masan Consumer with Omachi, Kokomi and Asia Food with the brand of Red Bear noodles.