Nissin to debut premium Cup Noodle Rich line in Japan

by

Staff Writer

As more and more consumers turn to luxury products to enhance their lifestyles, Nissin Food Products Co. will start selling premium brand Cup Noodles from April.

Two varieties of Cup Noodle Rich are set to debut: one, Chinese-style thick oyster-flavored soup with imitation shark’s fin made from gelatin, and the other a Japanese-style bonito-based broth with a seasoning made from soft-shelled turtles, which are considered a nutritious delicacy.

The two luxury products — food giant Nissin’s first attempt to sell premium instant noodles under the popular Cup Noodle brand since its debut in 1971 — will hit stores April 11. The price per unit will be ¥230, about ¥50 higher than regular-size Cup Noodles, despite the fact that the quantity of noodles in the Rich line is slightly less than that of the ordinary ones.

The company hopes its Cup Noodle Rich line will attract not only young people but also seniors who are less likely to eat instant noodles but more likely to spend money on high-quality products, Nissin Foods Holdings Co. spokesman Masashi Kanaya said Tuesday.

“Seniors today are energized both physically and mentally, regardless of their gender,” and the firm believes they are curious enough to try the luxury instant noodles, he said.

For now, the premium Cup Noodles will only be marketed in Japan, he said, adding the company may introduce other products in the Rich line in the future if they sell well.

With consumers moving toward valuing higher quality rather than low prices, food manufacturers are more likely to push premium-branded goods by adding extra value, which would be more profitable for companies than selling low-price goods, said a food industry analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center, who asked not to be named.

“Amid deflation in 2011 and 2012, consumers were more likely to buy cheaper products by compromising quality. But such a trend has changed over the past year or two,” boosted by recent signs of economic recovery and because people were tired of buying low-quality products, he said.

But that trend is not universal among all consumers because their tastes and preferences have become increasingly polarized between rich and poor as salary disparities have widened, he said.