Following the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact, instant noodles have become a staple diet in many of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries because of taste, affordability, and convenience, driving its sales.

GlobalData has forecast the APAC instant noodles segment to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.70 percent from US$27.39bn in 2019 to US$ 31.67bn by 2023.

“As more people are staying home and avoiding outdoor activities amid the outbreak, the sales of instant noodles have peaked in recent days. The current utility-owned instant noodles are affected primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic and their demand has skyrocketed in recent days as consumers are actively stockpiling the emergency supplies in the APAC,” said Khushboo Jain, Consumer Insights Analyst at GlobalData.

The volume consumption of instant noodles in the APAC region is set to increase from 8925 million kg in 2019 to 9395 million kg in 2023. The convenience and economical value of instant noodles were amongst the key factors attributed to their continued strong market presence and upswing in sales.

The APAC is home to the world’s fastest-growing market for instant noodles, which is reflected in the size of its industry and the rapid rate of expansion in output over recent years.

The APAC accounted for the largest market share of around 85 percent in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.37 percent over the next four years. China is one of the leading markets in the APAC region, accounting for the largest market share of around 60 percent in 2020.

Low cost, product variety, long-shelf-life and increasing demand for convenience foods have been fuelling the sales of instant noodles in the APAC region. The per capita consumption is increasing from 2.19 kg in 2019 to 2.35 kg in 2023 with a growth rate of 7 percent. The prominent players in the APAC instant noodles market are Tingyi Holding Corp (China) Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. (Japan), Nissin Foods Co., Ltd (Hong Kong), Nestle SA (India) PT. Indofood (Indonesia) and Nongshim Co Ltd (South Korea) which together account for around 35 percent market share.

Innovations in instant noodles can effectively tackle the taste-health paradox revolving around it, particularly through marrying indulgence with nutrition and other health benefits. To elevate the image of instant noodles, manufacturers have been focusing on launching healthy and nutritional products, with added fibre, reduced salt and vegetables. For instance, Nissin Food Co. reduced sodium levels in instant cup noodles and launched smart salt intake indicator for consumers.

“Instant noodles have become a saviour for many people amidst this pandemic. With people across the APAC being asked to stay home and several cities now going on a strict lockdown the demand for easy to cook products such as instant noodles are bound to rise as consumers are stockpiling staple food products and creating more challenges for the companies to continue supply under demanding situations,” concluded Jain.

“As a result, it is important for the companies to satisfy consumers with both inexpensive instant noodles and fancier varieties of their old favourites.”