Japan's Nissin Foods boosts output of healthier instant noodles in H.K.

11, May. 2019

Packages of non-fried instant noodles with
Packages of non-fried instant noodles with "Kyushu Tonkotsu" flavor is pictured at a supermarket in Hong Kong on May 8, 2019.

By Elaine Li

HONG KONG, NNA - Japan's leading instant noodle maker Nissin Foods Holdings Co. will beef up production of healthier non-fried noodles in Hong Kong following an increase in such sales over the past few years.

Nissin Foods Co., its local subsidiary, says it is investing about 20 million Hong Kong dollars ($2.5 million) in enhancing a non-fried bar noodle production line by year-end, at a plant on the Tai Po Industrial Estate, in the north of the Chinese territory.

The local unit, which oversees the greater China region and was listed on the Hong Kong bourse in 2017, is “keen on expanding its product portfolio and production capacity, and considers it (the latest investment) an important growth strategy in Hong Kong and China,” CEO Kiyotaka Ando said in response to NNA's queries.

Non-fried bar noodles have less than half the saturated fat of Nissin's conventional Demae Iccho, a long-selling instant noodle brand in Hong Kong, according to the local arm.

Nissin's non-fried product, which features thin, straight, long noodles with pork bone-based soup among other flavors, is priced at HK$10 for a 183-gram package, whereas Demae Iccho curly fried noodles are about HK$3 per 100-gram package.

Despite the higher price, demand for non-fried bar noodles from health-conscious consumers has been shaping up since its launch in 2016. Sales doubled in 2017 and posted a double-digit increase last year, Ando said, but declined to reveal production and sales figures.

“The production line extension helps us manufacture our health-conscious products in closer proximity to meet demand in Hong Kong and China,” Ando said, adding he also expects it can enhance Nissin's revenue stream and overall competitiveness.

Nissin also foresees the potential to export bar noodle products to Australia, China, Europe, Taiwan and the United States, although the company has no specific plans.

Some Canadian retailers have sold Nissin's bar noodles through parallel imports in Canada, according to Ando.

Demand for instant noodles in China and Hong Kong has slowed in recent years, totaling 40.3 billion packages in 2018, data from the World Instant Noodles Association showed Thursday.

As part of its product expansion, the Hong Kong unit invested HK$30 million to set up a production line for Granola -- its cereal with dry fruit -- which opened in the territory in 2017 at another plant on the same industrial park. It started selling it in January. (NNA/Kyodo)