Since their invention in 1958 by Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando, instant noodles have won dedicated fans around the world. China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and India continue to top the world’s largest purchasers of packaged noodles; however, global demand is falling across the board as consumers continue to reduce the amount of processed foods from their diets.
According to statistics from the World Instant Noodle Association (which, incidentally, is headquartered in Osaka’s Instant Ramen Museum) Chinese demand for instant noodles plummeted to 38.5 billion servings in 2016, down from 46.2 billion servings in 2013. The purchasing power of younger generations who are more concerned with diet-based health is being directed towards fresher, more nutritious foods, leaving top manufacturers facing layoffs and scrambling to re-capture the market.
Still, there’s no need to fear that your favorite crinkly packages of comfort food à la minute will be yanked from shelves any time soon. According to a poll, nearly a third of Chinese travelers pack instant noodles in their suitcases when it’s uncertain whether they’ll be able to purchase them at their destination.